- Malawi has a tough mission ahead of 2009 general election, to register afresh seven million people on to its new voter's roll.
Registration for elections, which is expected to take three and half months, starting from 18 August and close on 29 November will cover the country's 28 districts, Fegus Lipenga, spokesperson for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) reported.
He said MEC is to spend US$ 50 million for the whole electoral process as well as equipment that will successfully assist in the registration exercise, saying since equipment to be used for registration was very expensive and the body could not afford to place for all centres, registration would be staggered.
He further said that new voters' electoral roll is being launched in a bid to avoid a repeat of a fiasco in 2004 elections, in which the number of registered voters dropped because of a High Court order for reinspection of lists.
MEC has already launched a media campaign to attract eligible voters out of 13 million population to register and all stakeholders have been urged to persuade more people to register in order to vote in 2009, Lipenga said.
Apart from traditional donors and UN development programme, Malawi has also received a pledge of US$ 8 million from former colonial power, Britain, for the 19 May, 2009 election.
Current president Bingu wa Mutharika will face a strong challenge from his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi, who is seeking a fresh extended term at Malawi's state house.
Mr Muluzi took over power from dictator Kamuzu Banda in Malawi's first democratic polls in 1994, stepping down in 2004 and handing over to current president Bingu wa Mutharika, as his chosen successor. The two subsequently fell out, even prompting incumbent president to form his new party and cross the floor with government.
Since coming to power, Mr Mutharika has adopted an anti-corruption policy that has seen former head of state and other high Malawi officials in and out of courtrooms on corruption charges.
In May, Mr Muluzi was arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow government, having made amongst others, comments such that he will unseat president Mutharika.
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