The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Wednesday admitted that there was voter apathy in the October 9, 2012 parliamentary polls in Mzimba Central and Mzimba South West constituencies.
MEC Commissioner Reverend Chimkwita Phiri observed that several factors including poor awareness contributed to this, noting that some people were busy in the gardens.
For instance, over 34 000 people registered in Mzimba South West constituency but only 17 000 plus electorates participated by casting their votes.
"By-elections are very different from general elections. Note that the turn-up in the two constituencies has been greater than in many others by-elections held recently. You should understand that people are called back to vote after having voted for an earlier person. There is therefore need for deeper awareness,” explained Phiri.
The commissioner further said in Mzimba Central constituency more women cast their votes as compared to youths. He said there was need to be encourage youths to participate in general elections to benefit and enrich the country’s democracy.
"People must realize democracy is about them, it belongs to them. This must be emphasized. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders including the political parties and other groups and not only for MEC. Intra-party democracy must be understood clearly," he explained, adding that Mec has noted areas to be rectified and improve for the betterment of 2014 general elections.
Independent Mabvuto Kachali and Peoples Party (PP) Raymond Nkhata have unofficially won the Mzimba Central and Mzimba South West seats.
Stakeholders say the polls were free and fair despite some complaints from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and People’s Party (PP).
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