Malawi votes in tight three-way election
International Live: Malawi goes to the polls on Tuesday after a closely-fought election campaign, with President Peter Mutharika battling to hold off two serious rivals in a race that focused on corruption allegations and economic development.
Mutharika, who has been in power since 2014, will face opposition from his own deputy Saulos Chilima and former baptist preacher Lazarus Chakwera. “We have set Malawi on the path of progress,” Mutharika, 78, told several thousand cheering supporters of his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Blantyre at his final campaign rally at the weekend.
His bid for a second term has focused on the economy and his record of improving road and electricity infrastructure across the southeastern African country. Under Mutharika, inflation has fallen from 23 percent to below nine percent, but still only 11 percent of the population has access to electricity.
Banik said that the election commission and the courts could be severely tested by counting complaints after polling day on Tuesday, when voters will also choose lawmakers and local councillors.
He came to power in the aid-dependent country vowing to tackle corruption after the “Cashgate” scandal erupted a year earlier, revealing massive looting from state coffers.
Last November, Mutharika himself was forced to return a $200,000 donation from a businessman facing a corruption case in a $3-million contract to supply food to the Malawi police.
“It will even be more uncertain and tight than last time. It could undermine the legitimacy of the winning candidate,” said Michael Jana, a Malawi politics specialist at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand.
Dhaka, 21 May (campuslive24.com)//MIH