A new country report for Malawi released by London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has suggested that President Peter Mutharika will win the presidential elections due in 2019.
EIU is one of the world’s most renowned research and analysis institutions and in July last year the institution made similar observations but warned that Mutharika could slip if the economy worsens.
At mean time the country’s economy has rapidly improved with the inflation rate now at 16.10 percent.
“The president, Peter Mutharika, is expected to remain in power, as his rivals are too divided to mount an effective challenge,” reads EIU’s review generated on March 30, 2017.
The EIU made the same prediction in a similar report released in March last year.
The report says it expects Mutharika and the DPP to remain in power throughout the forecast period, securing re-election in the 2019 election.
It says former president Joyce Banda’s recent announcement that she would return to the Peoples Party (PP) leadership does not threaten Mutharika.
The report says regardless of which party Joyce Banda represents “we consider Mrs. Banda’s electoral prospects to be relatively bleak.”
The EIU says in the minds of voters, Banda still represents an era of Malawian politics that is characterized by corruption.
“Moreover, after the prolonged absence of its leader, the PP will struggle to mobilize the party
machinery to effectively challenge the DPP.
“We maintain our view that the incumbent, Peter Mutharika, is the favourite ahead of
the 2019 presidential election, regardless of whether Ms Banda returns to politics,” it says.
It also notes that fierce divisions in MCP weaken its ability to put up a serious electoral threat while Moses Kunkuyu’s Transformation Alliance (TA) does not have enough organizational status to give it a chance in 2019.
Opposition political parties may resort to take advantage of their numerical advantage in Parliament to attempt to sabotage government business.
However, the EIU says, they would struggle to secure the support base that would enable them to dislodge Mutharika from power come 2019.
It further adds that Malawi’s famed stability is not under threat, although low public confidence in public institutions and a shaky political landscape will continue to frustrate the needed political and economic reform.
It also forecasts that while political volatility may heighten in the run up to and immediately after the elections in 2019 – as has been the case in precious election periods – election-related volatility is unlikely to seriously threaten Malawi’s underlying stability.
According to EIU, Malawi’s democratic processes are reasonably well-established. Because of this attempts to scale any unrest up to a level that could challenge the Mutharika government’s hold on power are unlikely.
But EIU’s predictions have been welcomed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) while the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has dismissed it.
Francis Kasaila, spokesman of DPP said while the party is at an advantage because of its popularity in the populous Southern Region, it is also making inroads in the Central Region, the MCP’s stronghold.
“The EIU predictions could not be far from the truth. DPP is strethening,” Kasaila said.
MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka played down the prediction that DPP will still win in 2019, saying the opposition has also be strategising on winning the Southern Region.
He said the state of affairs is completely crumbling and everything, ranging from key sectors of agriculture, education and health, is failing thereby making Malawians face the consequences.
Mkaka said the major problem in Malawi is corruption.
“If we root out corruption; we will be on our way to economic development because Escom, water boards, the health system are all failing because of corruption.
“So, the major challenge is how to root out corruption . Malawians will not give mandate of governing to thieves again,” he said.
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