President Peter Mutharika has to resolve the country’s political gridlock as supporters of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) protesting his re-election and the party has threatened to unleash more protests throughout the country as part of efforts to pile pressure on Mutharika, who has been sworn in for a second five-year term of office, to step down.
MCP supporters in Lilongwe and in other parts of the country have been protesting the May 21 Tripartite Election results.
On Friday, it was Mzuzu’s turn in the northern region, as protesters marched from MCP offices near Court House, through Shoprite Roundabout, to Vigwagwa Market, before returning to the M1 Road and ended with a brief vigil at the Court House.
Mzuzu MCP district chairperson Joseph Chavura said they were determined to continue protests until Malawi’s election results are withdrawn and a new vote held.
“The message we have is just simple! We are not happy with a ‘Tippex Government’, we are not happy with ‘Tippex elections’ and we don’t want this ‘Tippex MEC’ to continue. We have started and we will continue, we will bring this down and we will not leave any stone unturned. We want a re-run so that the will of the people is respected,” he said.
MCP are accusing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party of rigging the polls with the help of the president-appointed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
In Mzuzu the protest march also themed ‘Mutharika Must Fall’ was largely peaceful.
MCP supporters sang: “Tikulira visola vithu mwiba, tikulira mwatolankhu Tippex uyu? Mwabankhungu imwe, fumanipo pampando, wanangwa withu mukutipokerachi? [We cry for our elections, where did you get the Tippex? You thieves, get out of offices, why are you robbing us of our rights?]”.
They proclaimed the names of their party leader Lazarus Chakwera, Saulos Chilima of UTM and Joyce Banda of People’s Party, while questioning why MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah allegedly punished Malawians by declaring Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the May 21 presidential election winner.
Ansahdeclared Mutharika the winner in the re-election with 39 percent of the vote, while MCP’s Chakwera was a close second with 35 percent.
The country’s immediate past vice-president, Chilima, who led UTM Party, came in third with 20 percent.
Chakwera and Chilima are challenging the election results in court, alleging ballot-stuffing and the use of Tipp-Ex correction fluid to change votes.
Speaking on state-run TV Thursday, President Mutharika warned protesters to wait patiently for the court verdict.
Mutharika alleged that Chakwera was orchestrating violence and “bloodshed” in the country to bring chaos.
“I wish to advise you all my fellow Malawians that I have ordered all security agencies, including the Malawi police and Malawi Defense Force, to protect all Malawians and their properties from all those who cause violence and disorder,” he said.
But MCP deputy spokesman Ezekiel Ching’oma said protests will continue.
“We will not be shaken,” he said, adding “our protests are going be peaceful.”
While some election observer missions, both local and international, declared the electoral process free and fair, several others, including the local quasi-religious group Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the European Union Election Observer Mission expressed some reservations.
In its analysis of the polls, PAC said the results management process lacked credibility, especially in the wake of revelations of use of Tippex, a correction fluid MEC admitted was not part of its inventory.
Speaking to Voice of America, Humphreys Mvula, a political analyst who contested as an independent candidate in parliamentary race for Blantyre-Malabada constituency and lost, was perplexed by the alleged use of the eraser fluid.
“I have never known in my life anywhere, where a contest which is decided by a number of votes, you have used Tipp-Ex, you have used strange eraser,” he said. “You have a problem because, again, the use of eraser was occasioned by the fact that possibly those figures were not able to balance using the computer system.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :