Malawi leader President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday cast his vote in an historic vote that calibrates him as a law abiding citizen but has condemned electoral violence against his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) monitors and supporters in the central region.
Malawians are voting in a Fresh Presidential Election as ordered by the court after it nullified the May 2019 election in Mutharika was declared winner.
Mutharika has been aggrieved by the decision, insisting that he coasted to a clean victory in the last election.
He has argued that the order by the court for a fresh election is a subversion of the will of the people.
But Mutharika, an internationally renown Constitutional lawyer, has all along complied with the court’s final decisions on the case.
As the nation run up to this election, there were fears that he would scupper the process by not appointing new commissioners to replace those at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) whose contracts had expired.
Mutharika responded timely to the exit of the previous commissioners by appointing new ones early in June to manage the fresh election.
On Tuesday, the Malawi leader cast his vote in his home district of Thyolo.
After casting his vote, Mutharika said he has received reports that the violence in the central region is being organised by opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
“ I strongly condemn the violence and the MCP for choosing this path,” said Mutharika.
“They are doing this because they are afraid of the will of the people. They asked for elections and they should not frustrate the same. They should let people vote freely and count votes freely,” Mutharika, who was accompanied by First Lady, said.
The court nullified the May 2019 election following a petition by opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima who claimed that the vote was rigged.
All international observers including African Union, European Union, SADC and the US Government had certified the election as free, fair, well-managed and credible.
In 8 months of a marathon court hearing, the opposition did not provide any evidence to the court as proof of their rigging claim.
Nevertheless, the court proceeded to nullify the election arguing that it was marred by irregularities.
However, the court did not show how the said irregularities affected the final figures of the vote, decision that has raised a range of arguments.
In the run up to the election, Mutharika has maintained he won cleanly.
“We won the election. The final result was the will of the people. But the opposition went to court and robbed us of our victory. On Tuesday, let us show them that we won last year,” said the Malawi leader at his last campaign rally in Rumphi Distirct last week.
Polling stations opened at 6am on Tuesday and closed at 6pm. Counting of the votes will start after closing the polling.
While the voting seems to be taking place peacefully in the Southern and Northern regions of the country, incidences of organized violence in the Central Region – the stronghold of the MCP led by Reverend Chakwera – has been a cause of concern.
A leaked official list circulating on social media shows the party recruited over 100 youths who since Monday have been beating up DPP monitors and officials, Malawi Electoral Commission staff and other electoral stakeholders in Central region.
Cases have also been reported of these MCP operatives threatening and manipulating voters against voting for President Mutharika.
Analysts have described this violence as a sign of MCP admitting that they do not have numbers to win the election.
Tellingly, this violence comes on the background of more violence by opposition in Malawi.
While the election case was in court, MCP, UTM and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) waged a sustained campaign of violence unprecedented in the history of elections in Malawi over what they called electoral injustices.
The fresh election is expected to bring stabilization to the country that has long known to be one of the most peaceful in the world.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :