Malawi opposition may dispute election results –Grand Coalition

Malawi opposition main contenders for presidency may not recognize the results of the tripartite elections on May 20, which it is widely expected to lose – the Civil Society Grand Coalition has warned.

The grand coalition, which comprises faith-based groups, civil society organizations, NGOs and Trade Union organizations, warned that the  Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) failure to address concerns expressed by political parties about the preparations leading up to the three-tier election, could undermine the vote.

Voice Mhone, leader of the Civil Society Grand Coalition, told Voice of America on Thursday that MEC has yet to resolve problems associated with the voter list despite repeated promises to do so.

Voice Mhone:  Wary
Voice Mhone: Cause for concern

He said the voter verification exercise has been “a total flop”.

Mhone also expressed worry that the continued use of state resources by President Joyce Banda’s ruling People’s Party during the campaign period could potentially lead to disputes during the election process.

Said Mhone: “The other issue is trying to level the playing ground. Both state controlled media and private media they are up to now showing some bias in their reports, and therefore, the ground is not levelled enough.”

The ruling party is using state resources for its campaign, according to Mhone. He says calls for transparency on how political parties are financed have so far failed to yield positive results.

“If you look at the way resources have been used we still have the state media following [the president] wherever she is covering and re-broadcasting the so-called developmental rallies, while clearly they seem to be political rallies,” said Mhone.

VOA quoted MEC spokesman Sangwani Mwafulirwa saying the commission has implemented measures to address concerns of political parties in the run up to the elections.

But, Mhone accused the electoral body of “given more of lip service than probably delivering on the expectation,”

Ruling PP has said the opposition and groups supporting them were “looking for an excuse” for what seemed an inevitable defeat.

An opinion poll conducted by Research Tech Consultants, suggest President Banda would win the elections  with 42 percent followed Chakwera at 23 percent then  Mutharika and Atupele received favour from 10 percent of the 3 883 respondents.

The opposition, political commentators and other stakeholders in the May 20 elections questioned the credibility of the survey.

But University of Malawi political analyst Dr Mustafa Hussein said opinion polls which have been favouring Banda can only be disregarded by the opposition at their own peril.

The first prediction from the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) followed by an opinion poll conducted by Nyasa Times online and face-to-face interview also tipped Banda to win the elections but opposition argued methodology used were not scientific.

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