Quest for rotational presidency in Malawi: 50-plus one electoral system debate rages on

New political vocabulary amongst Malawians has emerged and that is a proposal to have the presidency rotated across all the regions of the North, South and Centre to ensure equitable distribution of power.

Rotational presidency debate reignites

One of the proponents of the rotational presidency, Mzimba-based Ngoni Chief Inkosi ya Makhosi M’belwa has argued that the system will ensure equity as every region will produce someone to lead the country as opposed to only the dominant tribes having their way.

M’mbelwa also said the rotational presidency will end concerns of nepotism and that “even the distribution of lings like development will even be fair”.

In quotes reported by the local press, M’mbelwa cited Nigeria which adopted rotational presidency system, saying “people there stopped fighting.”

M’mbelwa said people of the North Malawi feel marginalised and hence there has been an appetite for a federal system of government.

“If you look at Malawi’s political history, Kamuzu [Banda] was from Central Region and he was in power for 31 years.

“Then came Bakili Muluzi in 1994 who has been succeeded by people from the South. By 2024, this country will have been ruled by colleagues in the Southern Region for 30 years; hence, the feeling of marginalisation by Northerners. Everybody needs to feel as a part of this country.”

But University of Malawi political scientist Ernest Thindwa told The Nation daily newspaper on Monday that Malawi needs to put in place electoral laws that ensure that for one to win, they need to have “popular mandate across regions.”

He said: “At the moment, to go by the voting patterns, the South and Centre would rather maintain the status quo because they have a high chance if winning, which is not appropriate.”

Thindwa said the “starting point” should be adoption and implementation of 50-plus-one electoral system.

Malawi uses the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) or winner-takes-all system to elect presidents, members of Parliament (MPs) and ward councillors.

Under the 50+1 electoral system, the triumphant contender is decided on the basis of getting a majority 50 percent plus one of the votes to win.

In Malawi, a simple majority is currently required for one to win the presidency without provision for a runoff election; a development Thindwa argued has tended to put leaders with no national mandate in office.

The Chancellor College- based political lecturer says the 50+1 electoral system will “compel presidential candidates and incumbents to ensure they react out to all corners of the country and essentially that would deal with politics of regionalism and discrimination.”

Out of the six general elections since the transition to multiparty democracy in 1993, three candidates have made it to State House with less than 50 percent of the popular vote.

In the first post-independence multiparty elections in 1994, Bakili Muluzi won the presidency with 47 percent although later, in his second term, won with 52 percent in 1999.

In 2004, the late Bingu wa Mutharika made it with 36 percent, but his approval rating surged to 66 percent five years later in 2009. His younger brother, Peter, in 2014 secured the presidency with about 36 percent of the votes cast.

In May 2019 Peter Mutharika secured re-election with 38 percent of the votes casts but his victory is being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

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China
China
9 months ago

Hahahaha atumbuka munya simudzalamulira dziko lino.Palibe zimenezo

William
9 months ago

There is no perfect political system in the world my fellow Malawians don’t be cheated by so called analysts, there are always having us their myopic thoughts and never near reality. Assess most if the so called Political scientists assessment of the political situation in our country prior to elections we were given gabbage. So at times stop quoting yhem. A federal system if we were to take an example of the north which tribe will be dominate of course the tumbukas from Mzimba and other districts and the Tonga , Nkhondes etc will feel marginalised. We chose democracy and… Read more »

Nalingula
Nalingula
9 months ago

I agree with the Chief just look at Mzimba and compare it with Phalombe in terms of Tarmac roads ….Also look at Mzimba contribution Economically – Agriculture ….You would assume that Mzimba could have a better road network but No ….Quota izitokhala maphunziro…Okha ? Ikatofika nthawi ya Miseu Basi kokera kwako….As long as we Maintain the Current System the North will get always get a Raw Deal ….Let’s accept we are a Tribalcracy as it is ….We need a System that will be Inclusive to all … Whether a Federal or 50 + 1 as long as we all Feel… Read more »

malume
malume
9 months ago

Mbelwa wadya chanba

Umunthu
Umunthu
9 months ago

Interesting topic. Regionalism is quite a true phenomenon in Malawi. I agree, 50+1 can partially help solve the problem by choosing a President who is supported by majority. However, that makes electoral system expensive since voting has to be done twice. I have bright suggestion here! How if we change the presidential system in Malawi to Parliamentary system thereby the party with majority Members of Parliament seats takes over Presidency. In so doing People will not vote for a President but a party which can nominate a President from any region- whom it feels is competent enough…..and if he doesn’t… Read more »

Ndendeuli
Ndendeuli
9 months ago

Mbelwa wakhuta ndalama za ku Tobacco pano akufuna u president.

PP litete
PP litete
9 months ago

50 + 1 is the answer

Mtete
Mtete
9 months ago

Tandiuzani abale. What’s wrong with APM’s hand? He raises an arm and the whole torso bends in sympathy.

Local Lawyer
Local Lawyer
9 months ago

Mzeru ikatha anthu amanganiza zoyipa anga izi

Chilipa Thako
9 months ago

rotational presidency in Malawi ?my foot inu choti mudziwe ndi chakuti atsogoleri amasankha ndi mulungu ndiye zanuzo mukuti rotational presidency kkkkk let keep dreaming .

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