By Richard Chirombo:
Floods, which the Department of Disaster Management Affairs says have killed 45 people, have not spared preparations for the May 21 Tripartite Elections, with the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) acknowledging that they have compromised the ballot paper verification exercise.
Mec Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, says in a statement released on March 12 that three districts have been affected.
“Being an elections period, the operations of the commission were also affected. The commission failed to conduct ballot paper vetting exercise in Mwanza, Chikwawa and Nsanje because candidates could not manage to travel from their various places to the council offices.
“The commission had to reschedule the dates for holding of the vetting exercise in these councils. Considering that the floods have displaced many people and damaged household items, it is certain that some people have lost their voter certificates during the disaster,” the statement reads.
However, Mec has assured those who lost voter certificates that they would still vote, so long as they registered as voters.
It says its officials will work closely with councils to establish whether infrastructures designated as voting centres have been damaged by the floods.
“Where this has occurred, the commission will provide tents for shelter during voting.
“The commission is also fully aware of the challenges that are faced due to rainfall in some districts during the polling exercise. To that effect, the commission is planning for all scenarios regarding distribution of polling materials,” it adds.
Meanwhile, Mec has urged voters to stop the wanton cutting down of trees to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.