News / Africa

Stakeholders Question Involvement of Zimbabwe in Malawi Elections

Lameck Masina
Civil rights groups and opposition political parties in Malawi are questioning a move by the Malawi Electoral Commission to borrow materials from Zimbabwe for use during the May 20 elections. The commission says it was convenient, but activists say it is a bad idea, given Zimbabwe's poor election record.
 
Officials of the Malawi Electoral Commission say the commission borrowed 9,500 gas lamps, 8,400 gas cylinders and 350 tents from Zimbabwe. Commission spokesman Sangwani Mwafulirwa told VOA the lamps help during the vote-counting, usually conducted at night, and the tents are for providing shelter for electoral staff.
 
“In previous elections we have had complaints from stakeholders that the lighting system that we were using, whether it was generators or the lantern lamps, were not providing enough light,” said Mwafulirwa.
 
But civic organizations and some opposition leaders say Malawi already bought lighting equipment during a previous and should not need should borrow gear from Zimbabwe.
 
The commission invited stakeholders in the electoral process to inspect the equipment, which arrived in Malawi at the end of March.
 
But a spokesman for the Civil Society Grand Coalition for Defense of Democracy and Constitution, Lucky Mbewe, told VOA they are still suspicious.
 
“Our dissatisfaction comes in because the cases of Zimbabwe are very sensitive, because cases of [vote] rigging were rife during their elections,” said Mbewe. “As such, it is difficult for us to trust the Electoral Commission of Malawi, considering the timing and circumstances surrounding this particular [electoral] process.”  
 
Mbewe says the electoral commission should have borrowed equipment from a nation with a clean electoral record, rather than Zimbabwe.
 
Mwafulirwa says other neighboring nations could not lend equipment because they are holding elections of their own, and Zimbabwe is relatively close.
 
"It was easier to get these goods from Zimbabwe because they were being brought by road and it was easier to get them faster,” said Mwafulirwa.
 
Democratic Alliance MP and South African Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Masizole Mnqasela, who observed the Zimbabwean elections, told London-based SW Radio Africa that Malawi should have come to South Africa because it has a credible electoral system and has been training many neighboring countries.
 
Mbewe says the Coalition is watching to ensure that no vote-rigging takes place.
 
“What we are doing to keep our eyes open, we are mounting through MESN [Malawi Electoral Support Network] which is a member of the Grand Coalition, which has a lot of monitors across the country who will be our eyes and ears,” said Mbewe. “This is the only alternative we are doing at the moment to ensure that the issues of rigging are taken care of.”   
Malawi is expected to hold tripartite elections on May 20 and 7.5 million voters are expected to choose the president, parliamentarians and councilors. Twelve presidential candidates are expected to contest the polls.
 
However, the major contest has been narrowed down to four presidential candidates whose parties were represented in parliament.
 
They are Atupele Muluzi on the opposition United Democratic Front, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party, Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party, and Joyce Banda of the ruling People’s party.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Manyathela from: RSA
April 09, 2014 2:18 PM
but why borrowing from Zimbabwe what is special with Zimbabwean government

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More