News / Africa

Malawi Kicks-Off Campaigning for May 20 Elections

FILE - Malawi's President Joyce Banda attends a seminar on security during an event marking the centenary of the unification of Nigeria's north and south in Abuja, Nigeria, Feb. 27, 2014.
FILE - Malawi's President Joyce Banda attends a seminar on security during an event marking the centenary of the unification of Nigeria's north and south in Abuja, Nigeria, Feb. 27, 2014.
Lameck Masina
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has officially opened the campaign season with a call for political parties to conduct clean and peaceful campaigns in the run up to May 20 elections.

Political violence has begun even before the official campaigning started.

One incident occurred March 16 after a political rally for President Joyce Banda in Thyolo. Supporters of the president’s People’s Party (PP) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were involved in confrontations, leading to several deaths.

The Electoral Commission subsequently decided to open campaigning with a warning to the 11 parties contesting the vote.

“Our message to the political parties is that they should adhere and conduct political campaigns according to the Malawi electoral laws that [among others] prohibit the use of abusive language, defamatory language and violence," said Reverend Emanuel Chikwita Phiri, MEC’s commissioner.
 
The commission, he added, is in league with law enforcement and prepared to deal with any politician who violates elections laws.

“We can do what is known as administrative justice; like a football referee we blow the whistle and we simply tell the one who has violated the laws 'stop doing that.' We have a second stage where we can call them, in front of their peers, ‘the name and shame’. There is another step where we can actually stop a candidate from continuing in the electoral process if those violations are continuing," he said.

Several political parties were quick to pledge to abide by the MEC’s call for a peaceful campaign period.
 
Paul Maulidi is the acting secretary general for the ruling People’s Party.

“In as far as our supporters are concerned, we have already issued a statement that they should refrain from using inflammatory languages and personalized attacks but they should instead concentrate on wanting to tell the people about what has People’s Party got in store for them," said Maulidi.

But the secretary general for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Jean Kalirani, says she is more concerned about fairness in a campaign where the ruling party has the advantage.

“The main challenge is that we have got one political party with all the resources, which are public resources, but they are being used for campaign. But here we have launched the campaign but nothing has been said about that," said Kalirani.

Kalirani alleges that state media, namely the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), is a tool for the ruling party.

The MEC’s civic voter education chairwoman, Nancy Tembo, says this concern is being adequately addressed. She says her committee has already communicated the concerns from opposition parties to the MBC and that the broadcaster has pledge to be impartial and professional in the lead up to the elections.

Campaigning officially ends 48 hours before an estimated 7.5 million eligible voters cast ballots for president, the National Assembly and Councilors.

Several recent high-profile graft scandals are expected to dominate the campaigning.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joe Chirwa
March 24, 2014 5:20 AM
We wish a peaceful election period for Malawi and hope the authorities will deal with the violence that erupted in Thyolo instigated by the DPP. Such incidences should not take place again because they undermine the democratic right to free and fair electioneering process.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid