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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs