- The fresh presidential election is as a result of the annulment of the previous one.
- For several months, Malawi— usually a peaceful country— was treated to opposition-led demonstrations on the streets.
- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both Mutharika and Chakwera have actively been participating in several campaign rallies across the country.
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, it is all systems go in Malawi as the country is scheduled to hold a new presidential election tomorrow. The European Union has released a statement imploring the nation’s electoral body, political parties, candidates, and Malawians in general to create conditions for a credible, inclusive, transparent and peaceful election.
The fresh presidential election is as a result of the annulment of the previous one, due to the massive fraud that was detected in Malawi’s previous general elections last year. Sitting president, Peter Mutharika, was controversially deemed reelected. Malawi, situated on the south-eastern part of the African continent, is the second country on the entire Sub-saharan African continent to cancel presidential elections.
The first one was Kenya, in 2017 ,when the senior most justice on the Supreme Court, David Maraga, nullified the re-election of the country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta. Maraga also cited massive cases of irregularities that affected the integrity of the polls.
The chief justice went ahead to order for a fresh presidential election, in which Kenyatta ran unopposed. The opposition refused to participate after citing an unleveled playing field.
Malawi’s presidential election tomorrow has two main candidates: Mutharika, aged 79 and in power since 2014, and rival Lazarus Chakwera, aged 65. The third candidate, Peter Kuwani, has little chance of getting in the way of Mutharika and Chakwera’s stiff competition.
The Electoral Commission proclaimed Mutharika the winner of the May 21, 2019 elections. His declared 38.57% of the vote was almost 160,000 more than those obtained by Chakwera, with 35.41%.
However, Chakwera and other candidates considered the results to be fraudulent, pointing out irregularities in numerous ballot papers. Many Malawians urgue that Chakwera actually won the elections, but his victory was snatched by the Mutharika-led administration’s state organs.
For several months, Malawi— usually a peaceful country— was treated to opposition-led demonstrations on the streets. Cases of violence were reported as law enforcement agencies clashed with the demonstrators.
To the general surprise of many, the country’s judges in February nullified Mutharika’s re-election, confirming “widespread and systematic irregularities” in the poll.
Following the ruling, an angry Mutharika denounced “a judicial coup d’état,” and went ahead to appeal the court’s decision. However, the court threw out his appeal, confirming the need for a fresh election in the tiny southern African state.
Campaigns Despite COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both Mutharika and Chakwera have actively been participating in several campaign rallies across the country.
More than 600 cases of Covid-19 and eight deaths have so far been identified in Malawi, one of the poorest countries on the planet. According to the World Bank estimates, more than half of its 17 million inhabitants live below the poverty line.
In April, thousands of citizens, who survive from daily business and informal commerce, took to the streets to oppose the confinement decreed by Peter Mutharika to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.The judicial system decided to suspend the presidential order indefinitely, on the grounds that it did not provide any help to those deprived of their income.