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Over 1.7 million Malawians shunned voting

Written by  Felix Mponda

Some 1,756,435 out of 6,827,383 registered Malawians shunned vote casting in the May 21 poll, but MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah on Saturday did not give reasons why there was this voter apathy.

MEC Chairperson Ansah: Thanks those who voted. MEC Chairperson Ansah: Thanks those who voted.

Ansah said a total of 5,070,948 voters cast their votes, representing 74.27% turnout.


"A total of 4,967,774 were valid votes and 103,174 were null and void which represents 1.51%," the MEC Chief added.


She saluted registered voters who took the "responsibility of exercising your right through the ballot."


"I say thank you. You are noble citizens. I congratulate you for expressing your choice in such a refined and profound manner."


Malawi successfully migrated from the paper based Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) system to the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system that ensured that the Commission "now had a cleaner voter register than ever before," she said.


In announcing results of 192 parliamentary candidates (see story on Victorious Members of Parliament), Ansah said:" The Commission has thoroughly reviewed and determined all the complaints that were lodged for the Parliamentary Election and we declare the Parliamentary Elections to be free and fair and that the results are a true reflection of the will of the people of the respective constituencies.


MEC received 147 complaints from all political parties across the country.


"Let me emphasize here that the candidates being announced have been voted for by the voters. The Commission only facilitates the process to enable voters to choose leaders of their choice. There will always be one winner. I repeat one winner."


MEC had come under fire for delaying to release the presidential results, resulting political tension in the country and the opposition MCP obtaining a court injunction to refrain MEC from announcing results of some ten districts until a recount is done. MEC obeyed the court order although Sunday afternoon from 3pm MEC is expected to announce the presidential results.


"It should be also be appreciated that the Commission does not favour any individual or political party. It respects the will of the people," she said.


She poured her "heartfelt congratulations" to all the winners, saying they had been elected by the people of Malawi to lead them into a brighter future."


"You have been bestowed with a heavy responsibility and may you come up to the expectations of the Malawian nation. I urge you and the party supporters to celebrate with responsibility and with respect for opponents.


"For those who have not made it this time, I say that this is the decision of the majority of Malawian voters and we must accept it with grace and generosity. And I encourage you to continue to play your part in building Malawi in to a greater nation.


Ansah concluded with an appeal to citizens. "To everyone out there I wish to say that what binds us together as Malawians is much stronger than what separates us into political parties. Let’s work together to serve our country and to give our future generation a better, stronger and prosperous Malawi."


Key international observer missions, including the Commonwealth and the European Union (EU)  have given kudos to Malawians for upholding peace on polling day.

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