The voting process for the 20 May Tripartite elections is over but the battle for democracy rages on in the warm heart of Africa, Malawi. At the centre of the battle are the political parties and their respective candidates who are hoping for a victory. At this stage controversy over the electoral process has heightened. Accusations over electoral fraud have been levelled against each other.
As way of resolving the differences that have risen, some stakeholders mainly political parties are pushing for a recount of the votes cast before MEC releases official results while others are against this position.
Elections are a key facet of democracy where citizens are given the power to choose leaders through a fair, free and credible electoral process. It is not a democracy for political parties, but democracy for citizens who should delegate power to only a few through a vote. This vote must therefore count.
But as it is the case with other sectors of development, political processes like elections are infested with corrupt practices such as rigging. Desperate to win elections, candidates tend to devise mechanisms to catapult themselves into political offices. Forget about campaign activities like rallies ahead of elections. To some political players, rigging or vote cheating is the supreme strategy to win an election.
Electoral fraud is as old as multiparty democracy in Malawi. But issues about vote rigging have never received the hype as during the current elections. Previous complains of vote rigging were ignored and candidates that benefited from electoral fraud ended up being honoured with political offices with hefty packages. No wonder most politicians who rig their way into political offices never stop at that but facilitate drainage of the public pulse through corrupt deals. Corrupt democracy will hatch corrupt leaders.
Therefore, the 2014 elections whose results are already disputed provide us with an opportunity to grow our democracy or a curse to endorse a corrupt version. MEC is said to have received over 250 complaints that smell electoral fraud that sound like an organised crime.
Yet MEC is set to release official results on Friday 30 May. What results is MEC going to release? Results declaring a winner? Is MEC going to consider a corrupt trail detected through the complaints and its own investigations? Shall MEC deem the complaints received as too immaterial to influence the results as it has been the case before?
If MEC go ahead to declare a candidate that has benefitted from stolen votes and that citizens are forced to accept the results, we are going to ENDORSE a corrupt democracy and we should forget about implementing the correct version of it. It does not matter how many votes are involved. What matters is the intent. EVERY VOTE SHOULD COUNT.
If, through the disguise of the law, we go ahead and accept a President, Member of Parliament and Councillor who benefitted from an electoral fraud, then we must remove elections from the democracy list as it is a mockery to the voters. One thing is clear: the LAW does not force MEC to announce corrupt winners! If MEC deliberately declares a beneficiary of electoral fraud as a winner, then we should look up to something else to facilitate the change we want, forget about elections.
WE are to make history. Wrong or Good. The choice is ours!