Political experts have condemned the scribes body, Media Institute of South Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter for setting tough conditions for presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections wishing to participate in presidential candidates which Nyasa Times understands will have five out of nine hopefuls taking part.
The presidential candidates who will ta e part in the upcoming March 29 and April 5 presidential debates include incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Vice-President Saulos Chilima of newly formed UTM Party.
Besides political allies-turned-rivals, Mutharika and Chilima, other candidates in the presidential debate will be are Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), Joyce Banda (People’s Party-PP) and Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front-UDF).
However, presidential candidate John Chisi (Umodzi Party-UP), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development-MMD), Cassim Chilumpha (Tikonze People’s Movement) and Reverend Kaliya (independent) will not take part because they do not fulfil eight requirements, seven of which the candidate should fulfill to qualify.
The requirements include that the candidates, party or coalition should have at least five percent of the 193 seats in the 2014-2019 National Assembly and that the candidate to have structures across the country.
Recating to the development, Mustafa Hussein, a political scientist with the University of Malawi said the conditions were discriminatory.
“Every presidential candidate must be given chance to sell themselves. Malawians should be given chance to select a candidate of their choice,” said Hussein.
But Misa Malawi chairperson Tereza Ndanga said most countries adopt such conditions.
Among others the conditions that,the candidate has developed and publicly presented a policy platform or manifesto before the first debate and can demonstrate an active campaign across the country during the campaign period.
Misa Malawi also say the candidate has demonstrated a proven ability to field no less than 50% of candidates in parliamentary election or ward councillor election, which are proportionally distributed across all 3 regions of the country.
“The candidate can demonstrate a national level of presence by having organisational structures across the country that include elected positions at National Executive Committee, Regional,District and Constituency levels across the country,” says the statement from Misa Malawi.
Misa Malawi also say the candidate can demonstrate an active participation in the political life of the country during the last five years, the candidate has agreed to abide by a commitment of non-violence and the candidate’s party has conducted democratic internal party elections for key positions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :