The 2019 presidential debates taskforce is facing accusations of leaking questions to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Lazarus Chakwera, according to renowened University of Malawi political scientist Dr. Nandin Patel.
Patel has said her colleagues had told her that questions were given to Chakwera in advance by the task force.
When pressed by colleagues on one of the chat forum to reveal more, Patel started to backtrack for letting the cat out of the bag.
Unsurprisingly, Chakwera was given the privilege of speaking last in both rounds of debates in a bid to give him favour when principal of fairness would have allowed for another candidate to go last as this is considered a crowning moment.
The task force consisted of Misa-Malawi, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Times Group and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
Others were Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Law Society (MLS), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The final presidential debate tackled a number of emerging issues with the focus being on youth-related issues, including population growth, opportunities for the youth, private sector development, infrastructure, climate change and sustainable development.
Youths constitute more than half of the 8.6 million people who registered as voters in this year’s election and, according to chairperson of the debate’s organising task force Teresa Ndanga, the youth vote would be very critical in the elections.
“The privileges that we are enjoying today as voters will only be exercised again in 2024,” she said.
She urged voters to seriously consider who they would vote for during the May 21 elections.