Survey shows Malawians losing trust in elections


Most Malawians have little trust in Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) and believe the quality of national elections has declined, a survey has indicated.

Afrobarometer conducted the survey in collaboration with University of Malawi (Unima)’s Centre for Social Research (CSR).

Findings of the survey come as public debate over the outcome of the May 21 presidential election rages on.


A statement released Tuesday says the debate has been fueled by a Constitutional Court ruling this week which shot down Mec’s declaration that President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential re-election.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima of UTM had asked the court to annul the electoral results, claiming they were marred by irregularities.

The National Afrobarometer survey, conducted from November to December last year, shows that as the pivotal legal challenge advanced, most Malawians shared serious concerns about the 2019 election.


“Although evaluations of election quality differed sharply by respondents’ political-party affiliation, but even DPP supporters were more likely to see election quality as deteriorating than as improving,” the statement reads.

The statement cites the faulty declaration of results by Mec as one of the components of the elections which many Malawians widely perceived as lacking impartiality and trustworthiness.

“Smaller proportions reported irregularities such as voters who cast multiple ballots and interference by security agents but a majority (57 percent) pointed to Mec’s declaration of the election results as faulty,” the statement reads.

It also says four in 10 Malawians representing 40 percent of the sample saw Mec as impartial and one in three representing 34 percent said they trust the commission “somewhat” or “a lot”.

Another 73 percent of Malawians said the 2019 election was worse in quality than previous elections with about three out of 10 Malawians expressing concerns about media fairness, fear of political intimidation or violence, and ballot secrecy.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of quality of life, governance, and democracy.

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