Afrobarometer survey not credible – Malawi Presidential hopefuls

Various presidential candidate have questioned the credibility of the controversial opinion poll by the US-based Afrobarometer released Friday, saying that they are only aimed to mock the intelligence of Malawians.

In the poll, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate 74-year-old Peter Mutharika commanded 27 percent of the vote followed by Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and President Joyce Banda, 64 of the ruling People’s Party (PP) at 21 and 19 percent, respectively.

Youthful United Democratic Front (UDF) leader Atupele Muluzi, 35 came fourth with 14 percent.

Afrobarometer said the poll was conducted between March 23 and April 7 2014 with a sample size of 2 400 people interviewed.

Mark Katsonga: Not credible poll

Mark Katsonga: Not credible poll

President of the opposition United Independence Party (UIP)  Abusa Helen Singh has no kind words to the researchers describing them as “liars” with questionable analysis.

“In my view I feel that the results are fake,” she told a local radio.

Presidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) Mark Katsonga alleges that the polls were conducted by people who were hired to confuse the mind of voters.

“It is not a credible survey. There are more unanswered questions,” he said.

However, spokesperson for the DPP Nicholas Dausi said the Afrobarometer is a credible organization whose findings cannot be disputed.

“We are happy with the survey results and trust they are a true reflection of the political popurality on the ground,” said Dausi.

State House Press Officer Steve Nhlane indicated that original opinion polls by the Afrobarometer tipped President Banda a winner “before someone succumbed.”

Nhlane quoted the “earlier findings” which put Joyce Banda at 39.3%., Lazarus Chakwera at 23.6%, Atupele Muluzi: 18.3% , Peter Mutharika: 17.2%a and others  1.6%.

One of Afrobarometer’s leading pollsters, Dr Boniface Dulani, a lecture of political science at University of Malawi, confirmed in email correspondence that there were flaws.

“We indeed planned to announce the results of the opinion poll on Wednesday but we discovered some technical problems in the analysis of the data that we decided to postpone the announcements until these problems are rectified,” said Dulani.

Dulani has noted that since the survey was conducted, the intensity of campaign among the top political parties has picked up, a development he said may have also swayed the 15 percent of undecided voters and changed the statistics after the poll.

Statistician and associate professor at the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic Salule Masangwi also told Nation on Sunday that the percentage of undecided voters should be cause for concern to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika who the survey indicated had a slight lead.

Other opinion polls by London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Malawi’s Research Tech Consultants and Nyasa Times  online news source have  highly favoured President Joyce Banda to win the forthcoming elections.

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