March 25, 2013 -
Despite prior announcements, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will not use biometric voter registration for its 2014 elections.
Reported in StarAfrica.com, MEC Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga said that although the system won’t be used for the upcoming elections, the concept hasn’t altogether been thrown out.
“We have resolved that the implementation of the biometric system be used in the 2019 elections,” Kalonga said.
According to the StarAfrica.com report, the decision was made having taken into consideration various concerns and challenges expected with the fast implementation of the system.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, a statement from the MEC indicated that the country would use the biometric system for its upcoming elections, following consultations will all stakeholders. Registered voters would be issued a voter identity card and registration would now include fingerprints and a digital photograph for verification.
Following the news that the MEC had abandoned this system for its next elections, the German ambassador to Malawi — Peter Woeste — commended the commission, suggesting that the recent decision would encourage donors to “significantly contribute to the electoral process,” as reported in Capital FM.
Earlier this month, police in Malawi also announced a new automated fingerprint identification system, to be rolled out to all police stations in two years. The new system cost the government approximately US$1 million and is so far only in use at the Police National Headquarters in Lilongwe.