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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid