Rigging claimants dubbed ‘cry babies’ in Malawi newspaper editorial

Malawi’s flagship daily has said in its editorial that outcries of possible rigging during the next Tuesday elections still being expressed mostly by some sections of the opposition are unfounded without any objective material evidence.

Opposition presidential candidates believe incumbent President Joyce Banda would rig to win the elections.

But The Nation newspaper in its editorial published on Friday pointed out that in the absence of evidence “those making the claims risk not being taken seriously by the electorate and other stakeholders. In other words, they may also be seen as mere ‘cry babies’ who have failed to prepare; hence, raising such fears to find an excuse in case the vote does not go their way.”

11 opposition presidential "cry babies"
11 opposition presidential “cry babies”

The editorial comment noted that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) through its chairperson Maxon Mbendera, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, has dismissed rigging fears, promising to deliver a free, fair and credible polls.

The paper also noted that the European Union (EU), which already has a team of observers on the ground, has also said there is no danger of the May 20 elections being rigged.

“Given this background, we believe the onus is on those expressing the fears to bring forth evidence of possible cheating for all to see and relevant players, notably MEC, to analyse and give their position,” the editorial reads.

“With a few days to polling, it would be more profitable for the opposition to channel such energy towards positive ventures such as selling themselves to the electorate to woo the undecided voters to vote for them,” it adds.

And an Afrobarometer poll has found that a majority of Malawians have confidence in the capabilities and neutrality of  MEC.

According to the poll, 55 percent of Malawians think MEC is ‘very well prepared’ for the upcoming election; 20 percent think it is ‘at least somewhat prepared’ and just 16 percent think it is ‘not at all’ or ‘not very well’ prepared.

MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said given that the survey was conducted some months ago when the preparations for the May 20 elections had already started, the confidence levels must be even higher now.

A mong 12 people vying for Malawi’s highest office, four main candidates stand out. They are President Joyce Banda, 35-years old Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF), 74-year-old Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and of the ruling People’s Party (PP)and 59-year-old  Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

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