Most political candidates take advantage of the electioneering period to pay out lots of money and gifts to the electorate in a bid to sway their decisions in their favour or against their opponents. Many African countries have tried to stem this habit but only a few have managed to successfully pass a law to criminalise the process. One of these countries is Malawi, which passed the Political Parties Act that came to effect on December 1, 2018. The law bans politicians from using cash payments and other incentives to get support ahead of elections in 2019.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Malawi.
Malawi has always relied on paper registration for voters, but electoral authorities say that hasn’t worked so well. “We used to have a lot of problems in the past” with the passports and driver’s licenses used for registration “because photographs may fall off” or names may get misspelled, said Yahya Mmadi, a member of the Malawi Electoral Commission. But the southeast African country’s recently unveiled biometric system, being put in place before the 2019 general elections, “will be 100 percent correct,” he said. It relies on unique markers such as fingerprints.
Malawi: Zambia Offers Malawi a Lesson to Adopt 50-Plus-1 Electoral System – ‘To Avoid Govt Elected By Minority’ | allAfrica.com
Malawi goes to national polls in three years time but debate for change from the current first-past-the-post and adopts a 50 per cent plus one law to ensure that the winner of presidential elections enjoyed majority support is continuing to heighten as it gets closer with Zambia polls providing good lesson. Malawi’s interfaith organization, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have recognised that 50 per cent plus one rule guarantees the leader acceptable, popular, majoritarian mandate. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi’s May 20, 2014 presidential election after defeating Joyce Banda. Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 percent of the votes cast, Lazarus Chakwera of MCP garnered 27.8 percent of the vote and Banda’s 20.2 percent.
Some 1,500 ballot boxes from May’s disputed election in Malawi have been destroyed in an unexplained fire. It comes amid an opposition demand for a recount of voting papers for a parliamentary seat in a constituency in the capital, Lilongwe. The High Court was set to hear arguments about the case on Thursday. In May, it overruled an attempt by former President Joyce Banda to annul the presidential vote, which she said was marred by rigging. Peter Mutharika, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was declared the winner, taking 36.4% of the presidential vote.
IN THE days after Malawi’s elections on May 20th one thing that seemed clear: Joyce Banda, the sitting president, had lost. But it was only on May 31th, after a court turned down a lawsuit to force a recount, when the electoral commission announced that Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had won with 36.4%. Ms Banda (20.2%) lagged behind even Lazarus Chikwera, a political newcomer and former preacher, who garnered 27.8%. It is rare thing for an incumbent to lose an African election; it is almost unheard of for one to come third.
Peter Mutharika was sworn in Saturday as Malawi’s new president after his arch-rival and predecessor Joyce Banda congratulated him and urged the country to move on from the disputed vote. Mutharika, the brother of president Bingu wa Mutharika who died in office in 2012, appealed to the 11 other presidential candidates to “join me in rebuilding the country” after some — including Banda — contested the results. Joining Vice President Saulos Chilima in taking the oath of office before a chief justice, Mutharika said he felt “very humbled” to stand as the fifth president of the impoverished southern African nation.
The results of Malawi’s controversial presidential elections could be announced on Friday if the courts rule out a recount, the country’s electoral commission said Wednesday. The outcome of the election was thrown into chaos last week when President Joyce Banda called the vote “null and void”, saying it was marred by “serious irregularities”. In some places the number of votes cast is reportedly greater than the number of voters. Court orders and injunctions have flown back and forth ever since, as supporters of Banda’s main rival Peter Mutharika urged the release of results as partial counts showed Banda to be a clear loser.
Final results for Malawi’s election may take up to two months. The electoral commission has admitted flaws during the vote and ordered a recount in some areas. “We envisage that the vote audit may take us not more than two months to conclude,” Chimkwita Phiri from Malawi’s electoral commission announced. The commission ordered a recount of the votes after admitting that there had been irregularities in the counting process. “There are cases being discovered where the total number of votes cast is more than the total registered voters for the centre,” read a statement by the chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Maxon Mbendera. He told members of the press that his staff would nevertheless complete the current vote counting, but that the results would not be announced until the electoral commission comes to a final conclusion.
Malawi’s main opposition Democratic People’s Party (DPP) says it is strongly against the recount of all ballots from the May 20 election saying the country’s High Court has the sole responsibility to order an election recount. Both local and international poll observers including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described Malawi’s presidential, legislative and local elections as credible and transparent before the electoral commission’s decision to order a recount of the vote citing voter irregularities in parts of the country. DPP spokesman Nicholas Dausi says the decision by Justice Maxon Mbendera, chairman of the electoral body, to order a vote recount was illegal. “It is extremely illegal for the Malawi Electoral Commission to order for the recount of the ballot boxes,” said Dausi. “They don’t have the power. That power of a recount can only be done after the Malawi Electoral commission has announced the final results and they give seven days for any complainant to do that, and that power lies with the Malawi High Court.”
The Malawi High Court is expected to rule Friday whether the results of the May 20th presidential election should be announced or a recount should be held. With about a third of the votes counted, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Peter Mutharika is leading with 42 percent of the unofficial tally. But Malawi Congress Party presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera, who is in second place, has gone to court along with third place candidate President Joyce Banda to demand a recount. Meanwhile, Malawi’s Electoral Commission Chair Maxon Mbendera said late Thursday that despite some irregularities, over 95 percent of voting was free, fair, transparent and credible. He said he will announce the final results Friday barring any court intervention.