|Justice Maxon Mbendera SC|
Next year on 20th May, Malawians will go to the polls to elect a ward councillor, a Member of Parliament and the State President.
In preparation for the elections, the Malawi Electoral Commission will from 22nd July start registration of voters. The Commission is conducting fresh registration and this means that everyone will have to register whether they registered during previous elections or not.
Registration for the May 20, 2014 Tripartite Elections will be done in phases. The Commission will be informing the nation through the radio and newspapers as to the places where registration is taking place. Take note that everyone will need to register at a centre within their ward.
To register, you need to be a Malawian citizen or someone who has ordinarily been a resident of the country for the past seven years, and be above the age of 18 or will turn 18 on May 20, 2014.
When going for registration remember to take a valid identification document like a passport, even though it might be expired, a driving licence, a student identity card, marriage certificate, a birth certificate, employment identification document or an old voter certificate. You may also go with someone who has registered already to bear witness for you.
Please note that everyone has to register once. Registering more than once is a criminal offence and apart from being prosecuted you will also be disqualified from participating in electoral activities. That means you cannot be allowed to register or contest as a candidate.
You need to register for you to vote and you also need to register if you wish to contest as a candidate in any of the three elections.
Also take note that it is not allowed to conduct political rallies or meetings within a 100 metre radius of the registration centre. Ensure that when going for registration you are not putting on party regalia or carrying anything that can easily identify you with a political party or grouping.
The registration centre is not a meeting place, so go back home immediately after finishing registering and keep your voter certificate at a safe place.
May I also appeal to political party leaders, faith leaders, teachers, parents, employers and everyone with authority that whenever you are holding meetings ensure that you mobilise your followers, supporters or members to register.
Voting is your right and your power. Go and register when registration commences in your area.
May Gob bless our nation
I thank you