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Lazarus Chakwera tipped to win

Nicholus Dausi

DULANI—Mutharika cannot win the election

Findings of a survey conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor) indicate that Lazarus Chakwera of the Tonse Alliance and his running mate Saulos Chilima will win the forthcoming fresh presidential election.

The survey, whose aim was gauging the public mood and state of governance ahead of the fresh presidential election, says 51 percent of the respondents said they would vote for the Tonse Alliance; 33 percent opted for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front Alliance led by President Peter Mutharika while four percent refused to disclose who they would vote for.

Two percent of the respondents said they would not vote while 0.2 percent said they would vote for Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development.

Through the survey, whose results were presented in Blantyre Monday, the researchers also discovered that Malawians consider themselves ready and insistent that the fresh election should go ahead in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Compared to previous surveys, the main finding of this study shows that there is likely to be a clear winner in the candidate of the Tonse Alliance, Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate, Saulos Chilima. Not only does a majority of Malawians say they will vote for Chakwera and Chilima, but they also say this is the most likely winning team,” the findings state.

Ipor Director of Research and Operations Boniface Dulani said the survey had a sample size of 1,346 and a margin of error of +-3 at a confidence interval of 95 percent.

“At least 80 percent of Malawians agree with the annulment of the 2019 presidential election by the Constitutional Court, a decision which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We tried to work around with the 10 percent who said they are undecided on who to vote for and it comes out that even if they all vote for President Mutharika, he cannot win the election,” Dulani said.

On key electoral issues ahead of the election, the survey which was funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa shows that food shortage ranks as the most crucial among Malawians followed by economic management, poverty, unemployment, health, Covid-19, agricultural marketing, corruption and then income and salaries.

The survey, which took place between May 25 and June 3, also shows that international observers add no value at all on the credibility of the elections in Malawi.

Chancellor College political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the findings are not surprising.

“You saw how people reacted immediately after [Malawi Electoral Election] announced that DPP had won. They took to the streets across the country. The economy is also not conducive for the majority of Malawians so this is not surprising at all,” Thindwa said.

Malawi Congress Party Secretary-General Eisenhower Mkaka welcomed the findings, saying they are a reflection of what is on the ground.

“For us, we will not sit back and relax. We will continue to reach the people with our messages of hope that a better Malawi is possible,” Mkaka said.

But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi dismissed the survey as bogus.

“No matter what people do to cheat Malawians regarding the June 23 election, I can assure you that Professor Mutharika will win and with a very big margin,” Dausi charged.

Ipor is a Zomba-based research organisation that provides social science research, advisory and consulting services.

The organisation says on its website that to date, it has conducted several assignments for its clients which have included local and international universities, local non-governmental organisations and international research firms.

Malawians are expected to vote for their leader again on June 23 after the courts nullified Mutharika’s 2019 re-election on the basis that the presidential poll was marred by systematic and widespread irregularities that undermined the rights of voters, among others.

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