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Malawi Ruling Party Denies It Plans to Rig May 19 Election


Malawi's presidential election is May 19, exactly one week from Tuesday. President Bingu wa Mutharika is facing perhaps his strongest challenge to date from a coalition of the Malawi Congress Party and the United Democratic Front of former President Bakili Muluzi.

Now there are allegations Mutharika's ruling Democratic Progress Party may be planning to rig the election. One account says the party has assigned some of its supporters to wear police uniforms on Election Day to transport already stuffed ballot papers from selected polling stations to a central counting area.

Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, spokesman for President Mutharika told VOA the allegations of rigging are an imagination of people who do not want to accept the fact that President Mutharika is slated to win the May 19 election by a landslide.

"Of course you know that that's not true, and it's very unfair for me to comment on a story that has got no basis, and the source for that story does not even exist. Therefore I'm not even going to comment or else I will be dignifying something that is not there," he said.

According to the Nyasa Times, the Malawi online newspaper, ruling party youth brigade members have been visiting the police station where uniforms are made to be visited with police uniforms.

Mtumodzi described Nyasa Times as a bogus publication that should not be believed.

"Nyasa Times is not respected in Malawi; Nyasa Times is associated with fabrication; Nyasa Times is associated with imagination by a few who don't believe that they are going lose. As simple as that and Voice of America should at least desist or refrain from using Nyasa Times as a source of information," Mtumodzi said.

With a week to go before the election, President Bingu wa Mutharika is facing perhaps his strongest challenge to date from a coalition of the Malawi Congress Party and the United Democratic Front of former President Bakili Muluzi.

Mtumodzi said President Mutharika is going to win the May 19 election by a landslide.

"All the opinion polls that have been conducted show that President Mutharika is going to win with more than 65 percent of the vote. The indication as of today our president was getting more than 75 percent from all the people who are going to vote. I mean it's so obvious. You even come and do your own research. You can go to Lilongwe, Blantyre. All indications are there that President Mutharika is going to win by a landslide victory," he said.

Mtumodzi denied allegations by some supporters of independent candidate James Nyondo that the government has been harassing opposition supporters by arresting them in several cities.

"Who is James Nyondo, tell me, independent candidate for what? You know what if you walk in the streets of Lilongwe, of Blantyre, of Mzuzu, of Zomba, or Mangochi you ask them in the streets if they can tell who Nyondo is, Nyondo doesn't exist. Nyondo is not there. Why can't you quote someone who is more authentic or more authoritative," Mtumodzi said.

He said Malawians will overwhelmingly re-elect incumbent President Mutharika because they want food security, economic and infrastructure development.


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