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Malawi Winds Up Political Campaigns Ahead of Tuesday Elections

  • Lameck Masina

Supporters of Malawi's incumbent President cheer during her final campaign rally at Songani village on the outskirts of the city of Zomba, the former capital of Malawi, May 17, 2014.
Campaigning for Malawi’s May 20 polls has ended with political parties holding their last rallies. Twelve presidential candidates are vying for the top post.

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) wrapped up the campaign with a tour from Dedza, one of its stronghold districts, to the capital, Lilongwe, where it held a rally at Masintha Ground.

MCP president Lazarus Chakwera told his supporters it is sad Malawi is still poor 50 years after independence, and blamed that fact largely on the country's previous leaders.

“If politics mean castigating opponents, self-enrichment, stealing from government coffers, then those who are saying that Chakwera doesn’t know politics are absolutely right,” he said.

He said if elected, Malawians will have improved welfare, and he pledged to make sure medicines are available in the country’s hospitals.

Like the MCP’s Chakwera, the candidate from the United Democratic Front, Atupele Muluzi, held his last campaign rally in Lilongwe.

He called for unity among Malawians and said the country will not prosper if it remains divided due to political differences.

The presidential candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party, Peter Mutharika, finished his campaign at his home area, Goliati, in the southern district of Thyolo.

He promised a return to sound economic policies that he said the country had been known for before the death of the party’s former leader, his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika.

Mutharika said if elected, his administration will reduce by half the prices of iron sheets and cement to ease the burden of building a house.

President Joyce Banda of the ruling People’s Party concluded her campaign in her home district of Zomba.

President Banda took office after Bingu wa Mutharika's death in 2012 and said she deserves a full mandate to continue what she has done.

“We are installing water tanks and tap water everywhere. We are also constructing 15 hospitals, and on education we have constructed 10 secondary schools, and we are currently constructing six teachers’ training colleges, and above all, we are constructing houses for the rural poor,” she said.

About 7.4 million Malawians are expected to vote for president, parliamentarians and councilors. The elections are expected to be closely contested.

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