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Peter Mutharika protests fresh election

Booed in Ndirande

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Mgeme Kalilani

President Peter Mutharika Thursday reiterated his protest against the July 2 presidential election, saying he will participate in it just to prove that he won the May 21 poll.

Mutharika made the remarks in Blantyre when he presented nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) for the fresh presidential election in which he will partner United Democratic Front (UDF) leader Atupele Muluzi as his running mate.

“On May 21 2019 people of Malawi voted in an election that was free, fair and credible, but a year later, we are here again. This election is not the will of Malawians. I won that election in 2019 and I will win this election. You expressed your will in 2019 and I am encouraging you to register and vote so that you restore your will,” he said.

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The Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 presidential election and ordered a fresh one to be held within 150 days from February 2 when it delivered its judgement in which it concluded that the 2019 poll was marred by widespread and systematic irregularities.

On his running mate, Mutharika said the young Muluzi, who is Minister of Energy, is someone he can work with in his mission to rebuild the country.

“I have decided to go with Honourabe Muluzi because he is determined to support my mission of developing the country. He is someone who understands that leadership comes with a number of responsibilities and is humble,” he said.

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Mutharika said last year’s election was a choice between light and darkness, the choice between the people who wanted to destroy the country and those wanted to develop it.

Speaking when she received the nomination papers, Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah reminded Mutharika that there can only be one winner in any election and advised the president to stick to issue-based campaign.

“Malawians are tired of mudslinging and electioneering and you must be a champion of a clean and peaceful campaign,” she said.

Ansah then assured Mutharika that the commission would to deliver a free, fair and credible election to the satisfaction of all contestants and stakeholders.

Addressing the press later, Ansah said the commission still has a funding deficit of K8 billion to successfully manage the fresh poll.

She added that United Nations Development Programme withdrew its support towards the election because there is no legal framework to run the election and also due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I cannot say if we will be able to hold the election on July 2 or not. Let us cross the bridge when we get there because I have also shared with you in the past that security documents such as ballot papers have to be printed outside the country,” she said.

Ansah insisted that the 150 days that the High Court gave for the fresh election are not enough for them to organise a well-managed election.

After the presentation of papers, Mutharika and Muluzi stormed the city of Blantyre but the tour faced some resistance in Ndirande Township where the duo was booed by bystanders who also chanted songs in which they denounced Mutharika’s leadership.

The police had to come in and fire teargas to disperse some people who tried to block the president from passing through certain sections of a road in the populous township.

Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said he had heard that there was some fracas but indicated that it might have happened before the president’s comvoy saying Mutharika addressed the people without an incident.

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