Malawi political tension rises to threaten stability, economy

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) nationwide demonstrations organised by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), to demand the stepping down of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah for the mismanagement of May 21 tripartite elections has sent a clear message that unless she resigns there will be ‘no peace’ in the land.

People protest in Mzuzu
People demand Jane Ansah resignation
People show their displeasure with elections results through placards

They charge that she should accept the blame for accepting election results that were tampered with tippex which propelled the incumbent Peter Mutharika to win the elections. Civil society organisations, backed by opposition Malawi Congress Party and UTM Party,   have vowed to explore other options until she and other commissioners resign.

The demand for Ansah to resign has added to the already soaring political temperature that has engulfed the country following disputed election results which the opposition is challenging in court. The opposition has refused to accept Mutharika as a legitimate president, saying elections were rigged.

Incidentally, the political tension is adversely affecting the country. The local currency, Kwacha, which has been stable for several years, hovering between K715-K730 to a dollar,  has depreciated to all time low to over K800 per dollar despite the tobacco market being at the apex.

Malawi was scheduled to host an International Trade Fair in the commercial city of Blantyre next month, but the event has been postponed because the political climate is unfavourable.  Businesses have also been affected. They are not operating optimally. Demonstrations are happening almost daily, forcing businesses to close their premises to protect their valuables from being looted or vandalised.

Some workers opt to participate in the demonstrations to exercise their democrat right. Unwittingly, man-labour hours are lost and production has suffered. The overall effect is that the economy will take a knock the longer it takes to resolve the impasse.

While the disputed elections have roots in the altering of results using tippex, Malawi needs to reform her electoral laws so that the president is elected by half of the population rather than just a simple majority. Leaders have exploited ethnicity and regionalism strategy to win the election because the first-past-the-post only requires a simple majority. For example, Mutharika only won with 38%, meaning that the majority of the voters, 62%, rejected him.

A proposal to amend the electoral law to provide for 50+1 was shot down by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. They believed that mathematically they could still win elections.  The Southern Region from which the party draw its largest support, could be exploited on ethic and regional lines and emerge victors. The strategy has worked. Both Mutharika and DPP have been overwhelmingly voted in the South Region where they have banged most votes.

However, this will pose a huge challenge for Mutharika to govern effectively. Already the opposition has scooped all positions in parliament: speaker, deputy speaker and second speaker. The ‘winner takes all’ system is producing a president who does not enjoy the support of the country because the majority did not vote for him.

While 50 + 1 does not guarantee that development will be shared equitably among all the regions, it is a stamp of approval that the president enjoys widespread popular majority.

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Joloza
1 year ago

Lets be realistic guys. The issue is in court. I don’t understand why we are demanding for Jane’s resignation before court passes judgment. How are we going to determine whether Jane is right or wrong? It is easy to have our minds twisted by the CSOs and have negative attitude towards our leaders. The CSOs know how to play with our minds because they know that most of us don’t know how to make independent decisions. We are easily carried away by wind of scrabble ideas. No wonder those in political positions are using us to achieve their political goals… Read more »

Tuvitwana
Tuvitwana
1 year ago

Mayi Ansah, simply step down. MALAWIANS who went to vote, DON’T WANT YOU PERIOD!

james
james
1 year ago

economy unstable. greedy south african banks standard bank and Nedbank taking advantage and leading kwacha depreciation. these banks will cause inflation, prices shall start going up.

TOSH
1 year ago

WE ARE COUNTING HOURS FOR JEZEBEL TO STEP DOWN IF SHE DONT STEP DOWN TODAY WE ARE GOING TO HER HOME OR EVEN SEARCHING HER WHERE BOUTS TO SMASH TILL SHE STEP DOWN

USOVENGE
USOVENGE
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSH

ine kumva kukoma..tiyeni nazoni amalawi..osaphwekesa..kwatsala kukaphwanya shopright ndi game..kkkk ma china shop ose kuphwanya tiyeni nazoni

Favour of Yahweh
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSH

Stop using your nose to think. If she resigns will it bring food to your table? Are you relations going to be rich?. This shallow way of thinking has brought our country into difficulties. The hour of divine visitation has come but the people are still blind. What the use of stoning parliament, vandalising and looting goods of hard working Malawians. This is because you follow blind leaders, no wonder you copy the spirit. Ansah is a learned judge of the highest court of the land, she knows better. You can hate her let us wait for the courts to… Read more »

dalo
dalo
1 year ago

Ena asazapangeso zibwana zimenezi not kuti the food will come on the table no koma decision yake ipangitsa anthu kuvutika including you…

Joloza
1 year ago
Reply to  dalo

Ine ayi bambo sindimavutika nawo. Sindidalira munthu wandale kuti andipangire decision. Decision ya moyo wanga ndimapanga ndekha. Ndinapanga chisankho mmoyo wanga chosadalira boma. Ndikamakhala ndimaiwalanso kuti kuli boma. Ndinapanga chisankho chogwira ntchito molimbika. Ndimalipira nsinkho kuti boma liziyenda posayang’anira kuti akulamula ndani. Ndimanyadiranso kuti ndimalipira nsonkho ndipo kuzera muthukuta langa anthu ena akuthandizika. Zidikirani anthu ena azikupangirani ma decision mukhala amphawi muona. Enanu ntchito yanu ndikulira ndikudandaula muli myendo tambalale kumayembekezera kuti Chakwera, Chilima akupangireni decision mukutaya nthawi yanu .Ana anu ndi banja lanu livutika ndi ulesi wanuwo.

Kaitano
Kaitano
1 year ago

If she continues? Fool!

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