Presidential debate ‘mere talk show’, analysts: Tip moderator to improve as Malawians make informed decisions

Political analysts and commentators have hailed the televised  presidential and running mate debates, saying they are offering Malawians a chance to make informed decisions but were quick to offer constructive criticism with tips to moderator  Grace Malera to improve.


From left to right: Chakwera, Chilima and Muluz the three of the eight presidential candidates in show of solidarity after the debate
Part of the audience at the debate

The first phase of the  presidential debate on Friday pitted  Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF), Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM’s Saulos Chilima in the main auditorium of Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc).

The three articulated issues on what to expect from their administrations should they be ushered into government during the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Second leg of the debate would be held on April 2, with John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development, Cassim Chilumpha of Tikonze Movement and independent candidate Reverend Kaliya participating.

The third and final round of the debate is scheduled for April 5 with all presidential candidates taking part

Govenring Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)  DPP candidate Peter Mutharika shunned the debate. His running mate, Everton Chimulirenji, also did not take part in running mates’ debates that were held in the past three weeks..

University of Malawi political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the event was “generally good” but with several areas of improvement such as the host taking more time to wind up questions.

“he debate was okay but there are areas that need improvement particularly on the pace the moderator set for the debate. The moderator was taking time to ask questions than the time given to the aspiring candidates to respond,” said Thindwa.

He also pointed out that the “ how question” was not addressed adequately by the candidates.

Said Thindwa: “ The candidates promised a lot but how they want to move from where we are now to where they want to be, they were not clear.”

He added: “So there was need to have a clear policy proposition in order to address the gaps they are seeing. So it was a mere talk show.”

Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali also told Nyasa Times that  the moderator at first could drag the debate which made the event  in the early part “somehow dull.”

However, along the way she was able to pick up especially when she started encouraging the debaters to not only “quiz” but also critique each other’s points, observed Munthali.

“The moderator did not demonstrate any biases, and she seemed to have even gained the trust and confidence of debaters throughout the debate  without anyone of them publicly complaining.

“The other strength of the moderator is that she demonstrated to have vast knowledge of the subject matter perhaps this may be partly due to the vast exposure she has had in development issues,” Munthali said of  Malera, a legal expert.

However, he pointed out that the area she needs to improve is that she shouldn’t spend more time elaborating the question as this kills the momentum and drags the process.

He also commended the organisers for the event and  suggested that in the next debates they should allow the audience to be able to clap hands for their candidate whenever he or she finishes delivering his submission.

“These are some of things that ignite the debate and make it even more lively. Otherwise, the rest was superb. Bravo to the organisers,” Munthali said.

The presidential debate is being organised by consortium of different entities including media houses, such as the taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and Times Media Group.

Other organisations include Misa Malawi, National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice), Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Voluntary Service Organisation, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Law Society (MLS) and Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet).

 

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Kaitano
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Kaitano

I think the debate was just a waste of time, all who attended the debate has a common enemy, and it was like Chakwera with his own people as well, now how can you call it a debate while all of them has the same I dea of changing Malawi, if you may ask them what changes are they talking, they all had the same answer, this is not the type of debate Malawians want, all of them they are in opposition, that is why it took Mr Chakwera to cry for Mr Munthlika to attend ! That would be… Read more »

Tchutchutchu
Guest
Tchutchutchu

Id it’s the same moderator, I’ll join APM and Chimulirenji to boycott! Why stick with a struggling moderator when we have others with a proven track record? This is not a training session

mtete
Guest
mtete

Anthu ena ndi mkhalidwe wawo kusakhutitsidwa. There was nothing wrong with the moderator, no bias either.

zoona
Guest
zoona

Why spending too much time with narrations instead of just asking questions.? Why contemplating on the very same issues we daily hear like “women women women ” leaving out big issues of interest I.e msanje port, railway services, until when shall we be relying trucks in ferrying our imports (paja amaopa kudzapha business ya ma truck)

saizi
Guest
saizi

sadala stop waisting your time we have no personal heritage with chilima nonse ma cadet akuvindikilani ndipo mulila simunati muziwaso chaka chake ndichino chilima akufinyani ndichifukwa mukulila ngati amata nchito avoteledwa basi

Mbava
Guest
Mbava

The moderator was was good. She handled the debate well. Impressive!!

Sadala
Guest
Sadala

Koma a Malawi, mwawona bwino bwino kuti Chilima ndi wawukali? Mwawonanso bwino bwino kuti iye ndi munthu wowonekeratu kuti sangamve maganizo a anthu ena? Tiyeni tiwonetsetse zimenezi mwa andalewa. Mavuto okhala ndi atsogoleri ngati awa tonse tikudziwa kale. Tiyeni tisabwereze mistake ngati iyi. Tinapanga kale kunakwana.

Tchana
Guest
Tchana

The moderator was non biased and good

Lilian Kaunda
Guest
Lilian Kaunda

I for one was not impressed. Indeed this was just a mere talk show to provide humour in these hard economic times. Grace failed big time on how the moderated the whole show. Had it been not for Atupele to spice up the show with his political jokes, the night would have been dull. If Grace would read this I feel the best format for her is to reaserch on government policies and in asking questions she should first outline the current government policy say on fertilizer subsidy. If the DPP would be represented, they would defend the policy and… Read more »

London
Guest
London

The debate was between Chakwera and Ana a Dad awili…apparently two government officials. Simply put, two top cabinet ministers in the current government. Eeish Malawi…

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