Political commentators have lauded President Peter Mutharika for setting the tone to garner the 50-percent-plus-one majority to win the fresh presidential elections which Parliament has set to take place on May 19 2020 subject to presidential assent.
Mutharika and his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Tuesday swiftly moved to announce its electoral alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF) ahead of first ever fresh elections in May to achieve more than 50 percent of the total votes required for the winner.
Until now, a president was elected through the first-past-the-post system that had been in place since the country attained democracy in 1994.
Mutharika was narrowly elected by 38.5 percent of the voters in May’s controversial elections, which prompted the Constitutional Court to order a review of the law.
A political science lecturer at Blantyre International University, Sherrif Kaisi, said an alliance is the only option for political parties, which want to win with more than 50 percent of the vote.
“We have [political] parties that would say, ‘No I am going alone,’ there is no question about that. But the question is – you going to win? Even in the just passed election, which was contested, you will see that no one even came close to that 50 [percent of the vote]. We are saying there [is] no single party in the country that would win 50+1,” said Kaisi on Voice of America (VOA).
Apart from former presidents Bakili Muluzi in 1999 and the late Bingu wa Mutharika in 2009, no candidate has won the presidency with over 50 percent of the vote.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, social and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said UDF was more likely to be in favour an alliance with the DPP than with UTM or Malawi Congress Party (MCP) because the perceived value that UDF would add to DPP vote.
“Certainly, UDF would bring some votes to DPP but I am rather sceptic if such votes would be enough to amass the required 50%+1. Let’s not forget that 1+1 is not always 2 as sometimes it can be 1,” said Munthali.
“We need not to pay a blind eye to the current context that UDF had already been swallowed by DPP (in as far as their eastern region support base is concerned) and that its popularity has been dwindling overtime that is if some credible survey findings by Afrobarometer and IPOR survey findings are anything to go by. That alliance should only be viewed as a step towards realizing a 50%+1 but DPP and UDF still have to do more in order to reach the required threshold,” he added.
Nevertheless, Munthali pointed out that the DPP-UDF alliance would still pile pressure on the need for UTM and MCP to go for an alliance.
A journalist writing on social media under his Facebook user name Mulotwa Mulotwa posted that it is becoming clear DPP has a strategy to win and get 50 + 1 and their energies are towards a winning formula.
“At least, they are displaying a better understanding of the ConCourt judgement and its implications. They are not even allowing their internal wrangles to distract them,” he commented.
“Ignore the main opposition parties false energy, misplaced confidence and childlike behaviour as though winning elections is a foregone conclusion – it is all infantile. This was supposed to be time to unite for a common purpose, show desire to rid the country of its pitfalls and put up a robust elections monitoring system [ once beaten twice shy].
“Make no mistake, the next election is not about the number of rallies, pomp, whistle-stops, rhetoric, radio sound bites or big newspaper headlines or Facebook fanaticism. It is about forming a united political union that cuts across tribal, regional and political blocks/bases. Voters that part of the world are subjective and petty. As long as MCP & UTM are not united, DPP and its alliance partners will carry the day. The earlier that sunk, the better,” commented Mulotwa.
In announcing the a working alliance between their political parties, Mutharika and young Muluzi underlined that it was only through unity, peace and order that Malawi can develop.
The two leaders said they are driven by common values to improve the quality of lives of Malawians.
In his brief statement, Mutharika said DPP and UDF share similar values of being democratic, peaceful and development-oriented.
Mutharika said unity was a prerequisite in developing Malawi.
“We belong to one family. Our alliance is founded on common values to unite in developing our country,” said Mutharika.
In his statement, Muluzi also said UDF and DPP believe in unity and peace to serve the interests of all Malawians.
The UDF leader said serving Malawians comes first over personal ambition and that unity between DPP and UDF and among all Malawians that the country can achieve enduring development.
“There is an African proverb that says that ‘If you want to go fast you go alone, but if you want to go far you go together’. It is in that spirit that I have set aside any personal ambition in favour of serving Malawi,” said Muluzi.
While none of the leaders made a direct reference to the conduct of MCP and UTM since the elections, their statements were loaded with undertones of condemnation of the violence which MCP and UTM have perpetrated in the past 11 months.
Since the election last year, MCP and UTM have waged a campaign of political terrorism, perpetrating acts of violence targeting businesses, innocent citizens and private and public property.
The hooliganism has affected the development of the country and people’s livelihoods.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :