Time for Malawi to adopt 50+1 system of electing president by majority

The political solution to the post-election instability is not serial protests to force Jane Ansah to resign, but the 50+1 bill rejected by legislators in 2017.

Unless the 50+1 system of electing presidents is adopted, the country will not realise the peace, unity and aspirations many died for.

I am worried with the mass demonstrations ensuing while the electoral dispute is being heard in court.

I will not push for blood to spill in the name of killing a louse in the seam. Why not just iron the seam to kill the lice bloodlessly?

If re-tabled, the 50+1 bill, which requires the president to be elected by over 50 percent of the valid votes, could reduce the pressure faced by those who do not muster a majority vote.

Malawians suffering because they like  sympathising with selfish politicians quickly forsake them.

Politicians are giving the electorate a raw deal: nepotism, corruption and politics of hate. They do not really think hard about the problems voters expect them to solve.

Instead, the politicians fork out the best bites for themselves and their inner circles, leaving the poor scrambling for crumbs falling from the high table.

This is the reason the voters are venting their anger on innocent citizenry in the name of demonstrations. The vigils ostensibly convened to push Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Ansah to resign for presiding over elections alleged to be fraudulent is just a smoke grenade—zongobisalirako izi.

What about the rights of citizens with different interests and convictions?

Unless the 50+1 system of electing presidents is adopted, the country will not realise the peace, unity and aspirations many died for.

The current electoral system, called first-past-the-post, promotes mediocre voters and politicians.

It fuels corruption, nepotism and regionalism as one can rise to the presidency with few votes from their stronghold and tribe.

People seeking Malawians’ sympathy through vigils want to perpetuate this system which prolongs political plunder. That’s why they do not want to unite for common good.

Unfortunately, the 50+1 will not be willingly accepted by greedy politicians.

The winner-takes-all system you see in Malawi promotes nepotism by minority governments. Once a person from a certain tribe gets the presidency, his or her kindred dominate public appointments and contracts at the expense of all other tribes.

Once upon a time, founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda taught us that we are one regardless of our tribes. But gone with the ‘father and founder of the Malawi nation’ are the days we worked and danced as one nation under the four cornerstones: Unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline.

Another strategy used by minorities benefitting from the current system is to keep the electorate in the dark when it comes to elections governance issues.

This is why Malawians must wake up and start demanding 50+1 agenda.

As it is, those in power will continue to keep us in the dark and let us fight while they enjoy the spoils.

With the current system, we are going nowhere. The more we try to vote unwanted leaders out, the longer they will stay tops.

As a result, a government elected by 38 percent of voters will continue controlling 100 percent of State resources.

Our leaders are reluctant to heed calls for an inclusive majority government fearing this would expose them to account to every Malawian.

But who would not be angry when it is obvious that getting 38 percent of the votes is hoodwinking the remaining 62 percent?

It also high time Malawians said no to violent demonstrations and started pushing for the law requiring the next president to be elected by over half of the valid votes. Where no one gets over 50 percent of the ballots cast, we should have a re-run of two top winners to ascertain public confidence in the potential presidents. This is the way to go.

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2 years ago

It is also my observation that of 17 million malawians, only about 6 million registered for voting and only bout 5 million voted. It is my opinion that where Mutharika won with 1.9 million making 38%, and Chakwera came second with 1.7 million making 35% the second round of voting involving the top two will probably have about 2 to 3 million voters where as it makes 38% look like more than 50% and probably 35% slightly less than that, It does not make the majority win. Its just a redundant vote. The real majority which is about 11 million… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  mile

Leave the non voters – but those who vote. Do you want children to vote Mr Mile? It does not happen except in some homes where children are given chance to voice their priorities i.e when money is available otherwise they do not.

2 years ago

My Observation is that even the 50+1 electoral system does not resolve nepotism but rather it becomes nepotism of the majority instead of the minority.

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