Afrobarometer’s Dulani says Malawians want stability

One of Afrobarometer’s leading pollsters, Dr Boniface Dulani, a lecture of political science at University of Malawi, has said the peaceful transition of power where Prof Peter Mutharika has taken over from Joyce Banda shows Malawians want stability and not political clashes.

Afrobarometer released an opinion poll days before the tripartite election which showed Mutharika would win the elections and placed Joyce Banda and her ruling People’s Party (PP) third behind Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarous Chakwera. The outcome of the elections gave credibility to the survey.

One person was shot dead on Friday by police when they clashed with protesters demanding a recount of the votes as parties claim the elections were full of serious anomalies.

Dulani:  Stability for Malawi
Dulani: Stability for Malawi

But the nation has restored to calm.

“I think Malawians want stability now – there was a lot of tension while we waited for the results,” said Dulani, a political lecturer and country Manager for Afrobarometer, an African-led network of social scientists that conducts regular public opinion surveys in about 35 African countries.

“There’s still going to be a lot of doubts about the credibility of Mutharika’s victory and that might have an impact on his overall legitimacy as a leader,” he added in commentes quoted by Financial Times of UK.

Mutharika is the brother of Bingu wa Mutharika, a former president who died suddenly while in office in 2012. Ms Banda, who was then vice-president, took over as president.

Initially, she enjoyed goodwill as she repealed unpopular laws, loosened foreign exchange controls and dropped the currency’s peg against the dollar in an effort to counter crippling foreign currency and fuel shortages and convince donors to restart aid.

But her brief term of office was tarnished by a massive corruption controversy at the heart of government, known as Cashgate.

The scandal triggered a wave of arrests and even assassination attempts. Donors suspended about $150m in assistance to the government.

Dulani said that Mr Mutharika’s poll victory “speaks more about Joyce Banda’s failures rather than Peter Mutharika’s leadership qualities.”

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