Malawi burning, demo in Mangochi for elections recount

There is high tension with reports of riots in Malawi’s volatile lakeshore district of Mangochi where party supporters are demonstrating for a ballot recount and not results to be announced from the chaotic polls.

If results are announced Friday, it is widely believed that Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will be the winner.

But on Friday, the day started with demonstrations in Mangochi as people took to the streets demand vote recount.

Mangochi burning
Mangochi burning
Flaming tyres in Mangochi as people demand vote recount
Flaming tyres in Mangochi as people demand vote recount

They were flaming tyres and tried to break Mangochi Secondary schools and were going to police where they were tear gassed but the people regrouped.

Malawi Defence Force deployed soldiers to help the Police keep calm.

Police said they have arrested “about 10 people”.

However, scores of people were still in the streets declaring “we will fight on for recount”.

President Joyce Banda‘s party alleged that Mutharika’s DPP may be behind the fraudulent elections.

Mutharika denied the claims as baseless.

The violence has seen six students at St Monica Private Secondary School being rushed to the hospital while two Police officers and a civilian are also injured.

Mangochi is a stronghold of United Democratic Front (UDF) whose presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi is trailing on fourth position from the unofficial results.

Atupele, son to former President Bakili Muluzi, backed President Joyce Banda for a rerun following the irregularities.

In the capital Lilongwe, people are also reported in stand-by ready to go on rampage after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said it will reject results before recount.

“MCP cannot accept these results because they are fraudulent,” MCP vice president Richard Msowoya said.

“We cannot allow people to steal our vote just like that and we have evidence and agree with President Banda that the election has been rigged,” Msowoya added.

The High Court in Blantyre is expected to make a ruling on Friday, May 30, to either order the Malawi Electoral Commission to declare the winner based on the current votes or initiate a recount as demanded by Banda and some opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the economy is a major concern in a country where half the population live in poverty. Economic growth, which averaged 7 per cent annually in the four years to 2010, slumped to 1.9 per cent in 2012.

Malawi went to the polls on May 20 in its first tripartite elections.

The poll had been plagued by problems from the outset, with voting materials turning up hours late and ballot papers being sent to the wrong parts of the country. Organisers had to extend voting in some urban areas for a second day and initial counting was delayed by power outages and a lack of generators at polling stations.

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