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Parties speak on South Africa elections

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By Rebecca Chimjeka & Macdonald Thom:

DAUSI

The country’s political parties have expressed different views on elections that took place in South Africa on Wednesday.

African National Congress (ANC) candidate Cyril Ramaphosa was facing Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) among other candidates.

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The BBC is reporting that ANC is expected to be returned to office but with a reduced majority.

It said with almost 76 percent of district results declared, ANC had amassed 57 percent of the votes while DA got 22 percent.

EFF got 10 percent of the votes.

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In 2014, the ANC won 62 percent of the votes.

Reacting to what is happening in South Africa, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka said, from the results so far, the impact of parties’ structures is clearly seen.

“Major lessons that we can learn from the South African elections is the power of structures at the grass roots. A party is like a tree. The grassroots structures are like the roots. No tree can hold without the roots in the soil. I think that’s the most crucial lesson that we can learn from this. It is important that a party should have structures on the ground,” Mkaka said.

He also said the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has to prepare adequately so that the elections are conducted smoothly.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Publicity Secretary Nicholas Dausi hailed peace that characterised the whole process.

“What has become a benchmark is the peaceful way by which the elections were conducted. In fact, they even allowed people to vote after 9 O’clock [at night] and no skirmishes whatsoever. People were able to choose who they want. That is the most important thing,” Dausi said.

UTM Publicity Secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga said there is no direct correlation with what is happening in Malawi.

“You cannot say that what is happening in South Africa can directly be the same as what is happening in Malawi and what is happening in Zambia, and probably, not what is happening in Zimbabwe,” he said.

He, however, said there are lessons which can be drawn from South African polls.

“Obviously, there are small issues that we can learn from. The message we can get from South Africa is that a number of people want change. I think that is what is going on across Malawi. People want change and change in the positive direction, change to transform the country,” he said.

Mec Chairperson of Electoral Services Committee Commissioner Jean Mathanga said they will be able to say what lessons they have drawn after the whole process.

In Malawi, there are seven presidential candidates. These include DPP’s Peter Mutharika, MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, UTM’s Saulos Chilima and Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF).

The other candidates are John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development and an independent candidate Reverend Kaliya.

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