Mutharika ‘looking forward’ to presidential debates faceoff

Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, has said he is “looking forward” to the presidential debate faceoff ahead of the polls.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced it will hold Presidential Debates in the run to the tripartite elections in May.

Mutharika said he is ready to go toe-to-toe with other presidential hopefuls in the debates.

“I understand there will be debate, that’s welcome,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika: Bring it on
Mutharika: Bring it on

The DPP torch bearer said the electorate must be “allowed to choose the leaders they want in a democratic and transparent manner.”

Mutharika said he wants a best candidate be chosen out of substance not “unjustified use of the legal system to bar some people from standing as candidates because the government is desperate to retain power beyond May 20.”

According to the released tripartite elections calendar, the Commission is expected to hold presidential debates, which will allow the aspirants to argue on the matter of policies and ideologies in the race to May 20th, 2014 elections.

The debates will be held for the first time in the history of multi-party democracy and will be held in all the three regions of the country next year.

The first debate – according to the electoral calendar – is expected to be held in Mzuzu on March 25th, 2014 before moving to Lilongwe on April 10th, 2014. Blantyre will have its turn on 14th May, 2014.

MEC Commissioner, Reverend Emmanuel Chinkwita-Phiri said they have partnered with several institutions to ensure the debates are well organized and achieve the intended goals.

The Commission said it will set rule for the debate likely to include be no clapping, cheering or jeering during the debates.

Political materials including banners, signs, literature, party branded clothing among others will also not be allowed into the debate auditorium.

MEC established a task force to organize the country’s first ever presidential debate, according to Sangwani Mwafulirwa, the electoral body’s spokesman.

Members of the presidential debate task force are drawn from various civil society organizations and broadcast media houses as well as international partners based on their expertise.

The presidential race  will see incumbent Head of State Joyce Banda – representing PP, Atupele Muluzi of UDF, Peter Mutharika representing DPP and the MCP’s Lazarous Chakwera. Others include PPM’s Mark Katsonga.

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