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

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs