Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera Wednesday had no kind words for Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), questioning the electoral body’s competence to manage the fresh presidential election slated for July 2.
Chakwera, who submitted his nomination papers to Mec in Blantyre where he also unveiled UTM leader Saulos Chilima as his running mate, told the Mec commissioners sitting a few yards away that they are not trustworthy as they “did not manage last year’s election in the best interest of Malawians”.
The MCP-UTM alliance will be represented at the poll by MCP but it has about seven political parties including People’s Party, Freedom Party, Mafunde, Umodzi Party and People’s Progressive Movement.
“This is the election which has been sanctioned by the court but they have been fighting long court processes to try and stop it. However, the resolve of Malawians to have a better Malawi binds us together ahead of the election,” Chakwera said. “Our destiny is Malawi watsopano wokomera onse (a better Malawi for all). It is a destiny that has survived six years of broken promises from a President who has failed to govern. It is a destiny that has survived the acrimony of the 2019 campaign and the robbery of the 2019 elections. It is a destiny that has survived the lawlessness of this Malawi Electoral Commission.”
Asked on how he felt presenting his nomination papers to a commission he does not trust, Chakwera said the alliance has presented the papers to this Mec simply because they are following the law. He also charged that for 26 years, Malawi’s wealth has been plundered, its institutions paralysed and its citizens impoverished by what he called a toxic dynasty of two families. “For 26 years, Malawi’s democracy has been hijacked by cheats whose hold on power is built on fraudulent elections, violent campaigns, tribal voting and minority rule, but God has given us this fresh election to restore every voter’s power to bring change and every voter’s right to enjoy its fruits,” Chakwera said.
The event was not without drama as Mec commissioners delayed to receive Chakwera’s papers apparently because supporters of the alliance—dubbed Tonse—did not follow social distance rules implemented to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
After presenting the papers, Chakwera and Chilima paraded the streets with throngs of people either accompanying them or standing on the roadsides to have the glimpse of the tour. Later in the day, president of Mbakuwaku Movement for Democracy, Peter Kuwani, also presented his nomination papers to Mec. Kuwani, who maintained Archibald Kalawang’oma as running mate, urged all election stakeholders to avoid perpetrating violence during the campaign period.
Independent candidate Ras Chikomeni Chirwa had his papers rejected because he did not pay the K2 million nomination fee and did not have enough endorsements as required by the law.
Another candidate, Reverend Hardwick Kaliya, withdrew from the race and instead endorsed Chakwera’s candidacy. Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah said the commission will ensure that the presidential election is free and fair and reminded the candidates that they should expect that there will be one winner.