News / Africa

No Clear Loser Among Malawi’s Top Presidential Candidates

Malawi president Joyce Banda waves to the crowd gathered in Lilongwe for the official launch of her electoral presidential campaign, March 29, 2014 in Lilongwe.
Malawi president Joyce Banda waves to the crowd gathered in Lilongwe for the official launch of her electoral presidential campaign, March 29, 2014 in Lilongwe.
Lameck Masina
With only a few days remaining until the May 20 presidential election, candidates in Malawi are leaving no stone unturned in trying to woo people to vote for them.

Among 12 people vying for Malawi's highest office, four main candidates stand out.

They are Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF), Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and  President Joyce Banda of the ruling People’s Party (PP).

All the four major parties have ruled the country before. This is reflected in their core campaign messages, which hinge on the same topic - poverty alleviation through improved agricultural policies and job creation.  

Each of these candidates is a stranger to the presidential race except President Joyce Banda, who in the 2009 elections was a running mate to then-president Bingu wa Mutharika, until she formed her own party after a falling out with him.

In her campaign messages, Banda is promising Malawians continued anti-poverty efforts she says she has been pursing since she took office in April 2012 following the death of Mutharika.

Despite a corruption scandal in which her office is directly implicated, President Banda’s administration has managed to avoid serious problems, except for what she says she inherited from the previous government. These include fuel and foreign exchange shortages, and a high inflation rate.

Banda says she is ready for any election outcome.

She says God will decide whether she should continue in office. But she says if Malawians do not vote her back in, she will honorably leave.

Atupele Muluzi is the son of the former president and founder of the opposition UDF, Bakili Muluzi, who ruled the country from 1994 to 2004. Probably the youngest presidential candidate ever in Malawi, the 35-year-old Muluzi is most popular among youth, who constitute more than half of the country’s population.

Muluzi promises Malawians a change in leadership style. He says his government will introduce clean politics devoid of mudslinging and self-enrichment he says have soiled the country’s political landscape since independence 50 years ago.

Seventy-four-year-old Peter Mutharika is hoping that voters remember the previous achievements of his party under his elder brother, the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

He says we constructed a lot of roads in the capital, Lilongwe, we constructed the Nsanje Port, we built the Karonga-Chitipa road, and in addition to that, we changed the mindset. He says we are ready to lead this country again.

The 59-year-old Lazarus Chakwera of the MCP, which ruled the country from 1964-1994, is regarded by supporters as a transformational leader of the party that previously was associated with atrocities committed under its founding leader, the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda.  

Chakwera served as the president of the Christian Church, Assemblies of God, until he resigned from the pulpit and entered politics in May 2013. He promises Malawians quality leadership.

“With all the good policies my colleagues have been describing, you still need integrity in leadership. You still need political will to follow through with certain tough decisions. You still need courage in order for these things to happen," he said.

Political commentators say judging from the support each of the candidates is commanding, predicting a winner this time around remains a daunting task.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs