Elections in Africa are very important. I may say that Africans are treating elections just like traditional rituals. Citizens get a chance to practice democracy and choose the leader they want for the future of their country. As a country prepares for general elections, its people expect transparency and peace while the elections are ongoing.
However, most African countries fall victim to fraud during general elections. For example, Malawi had to re-conduct its elections due to irregularities. The most amazing thing about Africa is that despite the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, people still show a strong will and spirit to practice democracy. Reports show that there are over 380000 cases of coronavirus and over 9500 fatalities related to the virus.
2019 Elections in Malawi
Peter Mutharika, the outgoing president, has been in power since 2014. His first term was about to expire hence need to conduct a general election for a second term. Last year, during the first polls, Peter won the elections by 38% against Chakwera’s 35%. However, the court, unfortunately, nullified the 2019’s general elections results because of alleged election irregularities.
2020 Elections in Malawi
After the court invalidated the results of last year, the citizens had to vote again for the second polls. This time, the officials were extra keen and vigilant hence no irregularities. Lazarus Chakwera, a former preacher, emerged as the new Malawian President with over 2 million votes (59%). In comparison, Peter Mutharika received less than 2 million votes automatically losing to his opponent. Peter’s Democratic Progressive Party demand the electoral commission to nullify the election results and announce the 3rd poll.
Political analysts say that there is no probability of Malawi having the 3rd poll as Mutharika needs to concede to defeat. As Chakwera is entering power, he advocates for peace and unity. Moreover, he promises to restore faith in the government as ‘people’s protector.’ Historically, Malawi is the 2nd African state to conduct a re-run-in election after the Constitutional Court nullifies results. It is also the 1st one in the continent to hold re-election resulting in the defeat of a serving president.
The Views Of Malawian Supporters
Christina Nkosi, a supporter of the United Transformation Movement headed by Saulos the VP, commented.
“Today is unbelievable because this feat seemed impossible just a month ago.”
Also, Mary, an old nurse supporting MCP, made her remarks about the general elections.
“We have waited too long for this dawn.”
Daud Suleman, an expert in IT, challenges the government’s ability to make progress in the country. Malawi, home of over 15 million people, has 50% of its people living in poverty and hardships. Most of the people depend on subsistence farming as a means of livelihood. Today, the country is suffering from the pandemic having over 1000 cases and over 10 fatalities.
The Views Of Peter Mutharika
Mutharika did not mention anything after the defeat. However, he says the election was still imperfect and terms it as the worst. The Malawi Electoral Commission says that there were no flaws in the 2nd polls.
Congratulatory Messages From Other African Leaders
After the swearing-in of Chakwera, various leaders commented on his success. Among them were, president Uhuru Kenyatta and Cyril Ramaphosa. The African Union Chairman congratulated Malawians for having peaceful elections and transition or change in power. Indeed, countries such as Burundi and Malawi have taught the continent the importance of democracy and unity in a nation.