United Kingdom-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has tipped President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to narrowly win the May 21 2019 elections.
The report, generated on March 18 2019, says Mutharika will secure re-election in May as there is no serious threat to him.
“We expect Mr Mutharika to be re-elected as president as there is no serious threat to him from any other candidate,” concludes EIU.
The think-tank adds that DPP will remain the “the largest party” in Parliament and will “form the next government.”
Besides Mutharika’s economic and development delivery record, the EIU says main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, State Vice President Saulos Chilima (who is presidential candidate of UTM party) and former president Joyce Banda and their parties pose no serious challenge to Mutharika and the DPP.
Banda has since withdrawn from presidential race and endorsed Chakwera’s candidature.
EIU has cited lack of policy alternative and internal divisions as factors that will contribute to Chakwera and MCP’s loss in the elections.
In the latest report, EIU reiterates the continuing divisions in MCP, saying “chronic infighting continues to plague” the party.
Analysts point out that todate, Chakwera has made no known effort to mend fences with the old guards who he banished from the party.
These officials were the spirit of the MCP and a strong link between the party and the grassroots in its stronghold.
Their disenchantment has worsned after Banda’s People’s Party officials invaded MCP and grabbed nearly half of the executive positions.
Chakwera has sought to build up his chances by striking an electoral alliance with Joyce Banda. But going by the EIU report, Chakwera may have worsened his chances further with this alliance.
It says Joyce Banda’s era was riddled with “notorious by rampant corruption”.
Referring to the failed alliance between UTM and PP, the EIU suggests any party’s alliance with Joyce Banda and PP “is based more on political expedency than strategy” and would result into a loss at the election.
It further says Chilima does not present “a serious electoral challenge”.
EIU said the same thing of Chilima in its January 2019 report, citing the undeveloped presence of his UTM among the reasons.
In case the opposition decide to resort to tricks that stir unrest and protests against the Mutharika government, this will not work, according to the EIU.
“Democratic processes in Malawi are well-established, and attempts to intensify unrest to undermine the country’s underlying stability or the government’s hold on power are unlikely,” it reads.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Mussa, who is the official government spokesperson, welcomed the report, and told Nyasa Times that the DPP will likely win because it was delivering on development agenda also addressed its shortfalls.
But MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka and UTM spokesman Joseph Chidanti Malunga dismissed the report.
Mkaka said the country’s oldest political party is on its way to form government for the first time since losing the first post-independence multiparty elections in 1994.
In the run-up to the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, the EIU wrongly predicted a victory for then president Joyce Banda who was voted out after finishing a distant third in both presidential and parliamentary races.
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