Malawi recounting one wasted year of post elections instability

It is exactly one year since the electorates went to polls in the May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections that both the Constitutional Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal (MSCA) nullified due to serious irregularities committed by the country’s pollster Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

In ruins-Photograph by Jordan Simeon-Phiri
Kalilombe (L) political violence has paralysed operations-Photograph by Jordan Simeon-Phiri
The gutted DC office-Photograph by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

The nullification came about following the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader jointly challenged the results with UTM Party president Saulos Klaus Chilima.

Angered by the results, led by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), people from across the country organised waves of protests demanding the head of the then MEC chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah for the alleged mess.

It is no secret that the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations have derailed the countrys socio economic development as the country has been at a standstill for close to 12 months as angry rioters damaged, torched offices and looted shops throughout the country.

One such affected districts is Karonga whose Council offices were twice torched by angry protestors, destroying vital documents in the process and has since paralysed its operations, efficiency and effectiveness while Nsundwe rioters brutally killed a police officer Superintendent Usumani Imedi on October 9, 2019.

It is for this reason that electoral stakeholders and business people in the district are asking MEC to professionally manage the court sanctioned fresh Presidential elections slated for June 23 if riots are to be avoided.

Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) recently made the appeal during a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting in the district aimed at finding long lasting solutions to conducting violence free elections in the district.

According to AFORD district governor Campbell Kaponda, the implementation of the electoral calendar is crucial and is the genesis of the road that leads to management of credible elections whose results are accepted by all contesting candidates and their candid supporters.

“As Karonga residents, we are tired of demonstrations. Riots have destroyed government and public structures including businesses. All these protests were executed by anger stemmed from mismanagement of elections. Right now, Karonga is in ruins because a number of government offices were torched by irate people. As such, we ask MEC to prudently conduct credible elections, Kaponda said.

However, MEC has always maintained its stand time without number that it has the capacity to professionally conduct free, fair and credible fresh Presidential polls.

Assurances from electoral stakeholders can be pleasing to both Karonga business community and service seekers at the District Council who up to now are still recovering from the May 19, 2019 post elections riots. Attest

One such business person is James Chagoma of Dechagos General Dealers whose business is yet to fully recover after waves of demonstrations paralysed sales.

Chagoma said the post elections violence demonstrations coincided with a K42 million bank loan he had acquired to inject in his business.

He said the past 12 months have been a hard path in his business, spanning five years as he had to service the loan amid declining sales due to political unrest caused by protests.

“I borrowed money from the bank with which I procured a K58 million borehole drilling machine in India. Unfortunately, the machine arrived few weeks ago amid the corona virus (COVID 19), further worsening the business environment, Chagoma said.

It is for this reason that Chagoma is appealing to all stakeholders to make sure that peaceful Presidential polls are held on June 23.

Karonga District Commissioner Paul Kalilombe echoed Chagomas sentiments, saying the post elections violence has greatly affected operations of his office and its effects are dire.

“The effects of post elections demonstrations are there for all to see. The impact is huge. Apart from destroying buildings, we lost vital records for deceased estates, wills, land acquisition and marriage certificates. And again, it is time consuming for office assistants to cover a distance of one kilometer from one office to the other to deliver documents since we are now scattered due to limited space in borrowed offices, Kalilombe said.

Kalilombe, has since appealed to authorities and the general public to engage in contact and dialogue whenever there are disputes rather than resorting to violence.

According to Kalilombe, about K300 million is needed to rehabilitate the burnt offices.

Kalilombe, has one message to political party leaders, conduct peaceful campaign with focus on issue based politics in order to build Malawi.

“Politicians ought to conduct themselves in such a manner that they dont propagate violence before, during and after elections. Demonstrations have neither benefited demonstrators nor those demonstrated against. If anything, that has just plunged the countrys economy, added Kalilombe.

Karonga District Peace committee chairperson Reverend Patricia Mzumara has since engaged the district chiefs, youth, politicians, the clergy and civil society organisations (CSOs) to discuss how possible to prevent a recurrence of the May 2019 post elections demonstarions.

Conversely, political science association secretary general Ernest Thindwa holds a different view.

Thindwa thinks that if MEC is to handle trust worthy elections, its Commissioners should rise above party politics to serve the nation with the utmost integrity by being transparent and accountable in the whole electoral calendar to produce undisputable results.

Thindwa has since appealed to political parties that in future when coming up with names of MEC Commissioners they should identify and recommend capable people who are not affiliated to any political party to serve the interests of Malawians to prevent history from repeating itself.

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Malawi belong to the citizens

Those are the consequences ya kubera zisankho.It is Munthalika who caused all this.

John Kennedy
John Kennedy
3 years ago

If truth be told violence begets violence and it has never solved anything. That’s why they say, “When all else fails, pick up arms and fight”. Which means that violence should be the last option on the table. Because even if you fight, they will be casualties from both sides. Destroying your own country is unacceptable under any circumstances. Peter only let you be, because he never wanted to repeat the July 21 demonstrations death that happened in 2011. So never think that you won. You never won anything because you caused miserable suffering to all of us, Malawians. Malawi… Read more »

3 years ago

How I wish Jane Ansah resigned the time the High Court pronounced her and her cronies incompetent and Peter could swiftly moved in and save Malawi from the year of demonstrations and breakings. Let us not cheat one another, peaceful demonstrations have a limit, and when people are taken for fouls and even mocked for expressing their rights, then you shouldn’t expect peaceful demos, because that’s what has made us reach chaos and almost constitutional crisis. If the demos were so live and anger be shown clearly, that Jane and Peter wouldn’t be that insane and arrogant. Don’t bring that… Read more »

Mtsogoleri opanda mano
Mtsogoleri opanda mano
3 years ago

Greedy MEC and DPP have destroyed this country. They have blood on their hands.

New way of Doing Things

To be honest with you -Chakwera, Chilima and HRDC have defects and weaknesses. They serve themselves and have no moral principles.
They are the ones who demolished part of the nation,businesses and social activities.They fomented riots and vandalism.For them the fallacious illusion of temporal well-being will one day torment them.
It is no secret no matter what it is,this opposing reality was here as an enemy of social economic development. If riots and vandalism will be avoided, we need people who have moral principles, who are not senseless,fickle,rash and loose.

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