MALAWI ELECTIONS CRITICAL FOR COUNTRY’S FUTURE
In May of 2019, President Peter Mutharika was elected to serve a second 5-year team as president of Malawi. Mutharika was elected with 35% of the vote total. The next two closest rivals garnered over 50% between them. Malawi has used what is called a ‘first past the post’ process for the office of president, where the top vote recipient in a field receives the victory, even if they do not receive more than 50%.
The election process was marred with problems, even though the international observers who were present stood behind it. Tally sheets were copied, tally sheets were ‘corrected’ with ‘white-out’, many went missing, and many others showed up in precincts, sometimes exceeding the number of registered voters in a precinct.
In January of 2020, a special Constitutional Court ruled that the election process was so flawed that the results were annulled, and a new election was called to happen within 150 days of the verdict. The new election standard is 50% + 1, meaning the victor must garner over half of the ballots cast to be elected.
Two voting coalitions have emerged in the process. One is centered around the President and his party, and the other around the top two vote recipients from last May. The campaigning process has been marred with violence, with gangs of thugs beating rival party supporters, rocks thrown at rival politicians, and rival political offices fire-bombed, killing those inside.
The new election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23. The government has attempted to delay this date, placing the security and validity of the process in question once again. Ballot papers arrived in Malawi just this past week. A new Election Commission was seated at the beginning of June. There is much room in the process for corruption to occur once again.
Pray for the election process in Malawi. For many years, the country has been led by those who have skimmed international aid, received payments under the table from vendors, handed out government positions to unqualified cronies, and grown rich on the backs of some of the poorest people on the planet. The people are crying out for leadership that will serve them, and not themselves.