Malawians went to the polls on Tuesday, May 21, casting their votes to elect a president, members of parliament and local government councillors. There are seven president hopefuls, however, just three including the incumbent president Peter Mutharika, who is leading in the polls, have a chance of winning the election.
There are no runoff elections in the country and whoever receives the most votes, even if the share is well below 50 percent, will become the president.
President Peter Mutharika is seeking a second term and is being challenged by his deputy, Saulos Chilima, and the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party, Lazarus Chakwera.
Mutharika has so far taken 40.44 percent of the 75 percent counted votes,
Chakwera has 35.34 percent and Chilima has 18.35 percent.
About 6.7 million people registered to vote in the fifth elections since the country returned to multiparty democracy in 1994 and while voters await the results, the Commonwealth group observing the polls has commended the country for ensuring a peaceful electoral process to date.
According to South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, who is the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group, “Malawi election has so far been handled with professionalism and dedication”.
Meanwhile, the country which is using the electronic system of tallying results for the first time has already started encountering some technical issues with the device. However, Malawi’s electoral commission (MEC) chief, Jane Ansah has done well to reassure Malawians that a backup plan had been put in place to deal with any technical hitches that might be encountered.
“The first result was received at midnight but have received only partial results from polling centres. Results have been slow because we’re experiencing some problem in result transmission,” said Ansah
Presently, corruption; poverty; the killing of albinos and an unstable economy are challenges in Malawi. The full results of the elections are expected by May 29, however, the results of the presidential vote in Malawi has always been challenged in court and chances are that this year would be no different.