Opinion: Malawians Indeed Finally Hold Free and Fair Elections

At first, I was surprised to hear foreign observers describing Malawi’s 2014 tripartite elections as free and fair and credible despite reported irregularities.

It pissed me off honestly as I really didn’t know what these observers wanted to achieve at the end of the day.

But now, after scrutinising the whole voting process with sober mind I can tell you that I agree with them that indeed Malawi experienced first ever free and fair and credible elections.

Why should you too agree with them?

In Africa, it is rare for a ruling party to lose elections. This doesn’t mean that people still love the ruling party but it has so many chances and machinery to rig elections.

Leaders do everything possible to ensure that they remain in power in fear of being prosecuted for the atrocities committed under their reign of power.

Let’s take the case of Malawi as example, according to some analysts the country only made free and fair elections in 1994 when people voted for multiparty democracy and perhaps 1999.

However, in 2004 and 2009 elections were not credible and leaders were winning against the will of the people. Rigging reports were everywhere but as a government, they had all chances to bury the complaints which had clear evidence.

Today, it starts with President Dr Joyce Banda who took the mantle of leadership after the demise of President Bingu wa Mutharika because she was a Vice President then, appointing commissioners from different political parties to oversee Malawi’s electoral body Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

When the country was preparing for the much taunted tripartite elections, several reports emerged that the ruling People’s Party wanted to rig the elections.

After getting used to the past scenarios, some Malawians tended to believe and started attacking the government although there was no any concrete evidence to prove their claims.

Joyce Banda insisted her party wasn’t prepared for vote rigging saying she wanted to practice clean politics and that she could not betray God who put her there but still people couldn’t believe her

And today, Malawians have voted but to the surprise of many it is an opposition party which is accused of rigging.

MEC reported that there was heavy anomalies where in some centres number of voters exceeded those  who  registered. There are a lot of rigging claims, all being associated with the opposition party.

However, despite those confirmed anomalies, foreign observers claimed the elections were free and fair and credible, which to me it means that it was so because the rigging wasn’t done by the ruling party.

And this just shows how minds of Africans were corrupted – to believe that elections are not free and fair if rigged by government and vice versa if done by opposition party forgetting that there are other opposition parties that are  stronger  than the ruling

So, indeed Malawians finally conducted free and fair elections because the ruling party did not rig as it is a case in other countries.

Views expressed in this article are solely for the author and doesn’t represent those of this website or its editorial staff

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