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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.