Malawi’s Fresh Presidential Elections A Fight Of Three Candidates
By Yusuf Chinyada
As Malawians are expected to go for fresh presidential elections this year, three political parties in the country have successfully presented their nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission, MEC on 6 May and 7 May, 2020.
The first to present the papers at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre was the president of Malawi Congress Party, Dr Lazarus Chakwera who is leading Tonse Alliance of nine opposition political parties. In an interview after presenting his papers, Dr Chakwera said, he decided to present the papers to the electoral body to follow the rule of law.
“We have not presented the papers to an individual but an institution as required by the law,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera and his running mate Dr. Saulosi Chilima who is the current vice president of the republic of Malawi and also president of UTM said the alliance is aimed at building a new Malawi that will be enjoyed by everyone. Dr. Chakwera promised a Malawi free of regionalism and ethnicity and a leadership that will respect the vice president, among others.
On the political violence happening in some parts of the country, Dr. Chakwera said, “We condemn the political violence, we can express different opinions without physical violence.”
Next to present his nomination forms was Candidate for Mbakuwaku Movement for Development, MMD, Peter DSD Kuwani, speaking after presenting his papers of nomiation said he was optimistic that he will emerge winner of the fresh election because of his sound manifesto.
After presenting his papers on Wednesday, President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party, DPP said the fresh elections are not the will of the people. According to Mutharika, the 2019 presidential elections went to his favor as they were free, fair, peaceful and transparent as also acknowledged by the international observers.
“The elections reflected the will of the people. You should register and vote in order to restore the will of the people,” said Mutharika. Mutharika who unveiled Atupele Muluzi, his alliance partner from the United Democratic Front, UDF as his running mate urged Malawians to vote for him to develop the country.
A political Science lecturer at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi Ernest Thindwa is quoted from the media after the nomination exercise that results of the fresh presidential elections will be determined by he who gets more votes in his strongholds than the other.
Speaking during the nomination exercise before her resignation chairperson for MEC Justice Dr Jane Ansah assured all candidates that MEC is fully committed to deliver a free and fair and credible election to the satisfaction of all contestants and stakeholders.
Ansah said, “MEC will continue with its pledge of working professionally, independently and with utmost impartiality in the management of the elections.
She also called for issue based campaign saying Malawians are tired of mouth slimming and foul language campaigns that result into violence.
She urged all candidates and political parties to observe a code of conduct that they all signed for peaceful elections.
With the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 4 in the country, Ansah urged all parties to employ new technics of campaigning to protect the spread of the virus.
“There is need for new means of campaigning to protect the citizens whom we want our votes from,” Ansah said.
In total 13 Candidates collected the nomination forms and nine were successfully filled. Independent candidates Smart Swira and Ras Chikomeni David Chirwa failed to submit their papers due to non-payment of 2 Million Kwacha nomination fees. Reverend Hadwick Kaliya, Khwechani Wesuze Nkhoma and Pemphero Mvula withdrew from the race and president of the New Vision for Democracy Shaibu Mustafa was nowhere to be seen.
During his appearance at the event Phunziro Mvula said he withdrew from the race due to lack of trust to the electoral body. He and Reverend Hadwick Kaliya however endorsed the candidature of Dr Chakwera of the Tonse Alliance.
The fresh presidential election follows the judgment of the High Court of Malawi delivered on 3 February that nullified the 2019 presidential election due to widespread irregularities and ordered for fresh elections within 150 days from the date of the judgment