Tension rise over Malawi election nullification

There is high tension with reports of riots in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre’s Limbe township over declartions by President Joyce Banda on Saturday that this week’s chaotic election be nullified and called for a fresh vote.

Nyasa Times correspondents report that anger at delays in official results announcing boiled over, and the declaration of election “null and void” by Banda trigged risks of violence.

Stone-throwing mobs were seen smashing cars and blocked roads.

Police on high alert in Limbe
Police on arrest in Limbe

Crowds of mainly young people set flaming tyres in the streets and threw stones at police who tried to charge the mobs from their vehicles.

Banda, who has claimed there were “serious irregularities” with the poll, declared fresh elections should be held within 90 days but said she would not stand as a candidate, to “give Malawians a free and fair” election.

There were chaotic scenes at the tally centre in Blantyre when word went around that the poll had been nullified, with police ordering a shutdown of the tally centre.

Banda alleged people had voted multiple times, ballots had been tampered with, presiding officers arrested, and the computerised voter counting system collapsed.

Heer supporters have alleged that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika may be behind the irregularities.

Mutharika denied the claims as baseless.

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