MEC suspends all the subsequent phases of the voter registration exercise due to COVID-19 Lockdown


By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announces that it has resolved to suspend all the subsequent voter registration exercise and all other related electoral activities for the fresh presidential elections scheduled for July 2 in view of the forthcoming 21-day National Lockdown which the government will execute from Saturday, April 18.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah

The Lockdown that Government is set to execute is meant to suspend some of national services to restrict movements of people as new and stricter measures to contain the further spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah SC says in a statement issued on Wednesday (April 15) that the first phase that commenced from April 4 and was supposed to end on Friday April 17, will now finish on Thursday, April 16 instead.


This, Ansah says, is to allow MEC staff to carry out all the retrieval processes before the lockdown.

She also said MEC will proceed with phase-one voter registration retrieval processes, which were for Blantyre District, Blantyre City, Chitipa, Karonga, Salima, Dedza, Ntcheu, Chikwawa and Nsanje.

The second phase was scheduled to commence on April 21 to May 4 involving 10 districts — Rumphi, Likoma, Mzuzu City, Mzimba, Lilongwe District, Lilongwe City, Thyolo, Luchenza Municipal, Phalombe and Mulanje.


Third phase for May 8-22 was for 8 districts — Nkhata Bay, Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Dowa, Balaka, Neno and Mwanza.

The last phase for May 25-June 7 was for nine districts — Kasungu District, Kasungu Municipality, Mchinji, Mangochi District, Mangochi Town, Machinga, Zomba District, Zomba City (central) and


Ansah said MEC considered the impact of the 21-day lockdown and additional measures declared by the Minister of Health on Tuesday April 14 April to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the electoral processes leading to the holding of the fresh presidential election on July 2. 

However, the fate of the fresh presidential election, in view of the lockdown and the suspension of the voter registration exercise “is subject to the general directions and orders that may be issued by the Supreme Court of Appeal in relation to the judgment of the Constitutional Court dated 3rd February 2020 which ordered that a fresh presidential election be held within 150 days from the date of the judgment.

Coronavirus alert

On Tuesday, MEC suspended voter registration exercise in Blantyre City with immediate effect following attacks by armed and angry mobs at various voter registration centres in Blantyre, especially in Ndirande where registration equipment was vandalized and destroyed, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has.

The affected registration centres were at the following schools: Namalimwe, Blantyre Secondary, Ndirande Kachere, Ndirande Matope, Chitsime, Makata, Ndirande Hill, Blantyre Girls, Nyambadwe, Mbayani, Chirimba and Ndirande Community Hall.

Coronavirus alert

Also in a statement issued Tuesday evening, Ansah said the “decision had been made to protect the lives of registrants, voter registration staff and MEC property following sporadic attacks by unknown mobs, who blamed the Commission for continuing with voter registration amidst the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.

She also reminded stakeholders that MEC filed an application with the Supreme Court of Appeal on Saturday, April 11 for orders or directions to vary the Constitutional Court order in view of the Coronavirus threat.

Coronavirus alert

MEC’s request to have the electoral process suspended due to Coronavirus was referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal by the High Court as the Constitutional Court.