Africa & World News

Malawi: Mutharika press officer congratulates opposition leader

Malawi’s State House Press Officer Justice Mponda has congratulated Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera for his victory over incumbent President Peter Mutharika, according to provisional results in the just-ended presidential election rerun.

Opposition leader Chakwera has what appears to be an unassailable lead in a presidential election re-run with 60% of the vote, according to a tally by state broadcaster MBC released on Thursday.

The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation said the tally was from all but three of 28 districts counted, and that it gave President Peter Mutharika 39% of votes. The opposition alliance claimed victory for Chakwera earlier on Thursday.

Mponda expressed his congratulations through a post on his Facebook page where he also thanked Mutharika for having been given an opportunity to serve in his government.

“I also take a moment to congratulate Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Dr Saulos Chilima and the entire Tonse Alliance for the victory. You fought well and it has paid off.

“In President Mutharika, I have learnt to appreciate the magic of working, growing and developing in silence. I will forever be grateful to APM for everything I have become today.

“Lastly, to the DPP. This fall gives you another opportunity to work on your shortfalls.

“It has taken an alliance of 10 political parties to defeat you and that’s evident enough that you are a very strong party.

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“You have fallen and risen before. You can rise again from this fall. Omwa tiyi adzamwanso.

“To Malawians, let’s move on. There is time for politics and there is time for development. Let’s move on.”

The electoral commission has yet to announce official results of the re-run of the 2019 election, which the courts cancelled owing to fraud.

The vote on Tuesday was regarded as a test of the ability of African courts to fight ballot fraud not uncommon on the continent, since Malawi’s judiciary infuriated President Peter Mutharika in February by quashing the result of the 2019 vote.

“With all votes…tallied, it is now clear that Malawians have resoundingly given (the opposition)…alliance the mandate to govern this country for the next five years,” a statement from Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance said.

“Malawians have at last reclaimed their destiny.”

At a news conference on Thursday, Electoral Commission chairman Chifundo Kachale urged Malawians to wait for the official result, which was taking time to collate because ballots had to be transported back to head office from locations across the lakeside southern African nation.

A win for Chakwera would be a dramatic reversal of last year’s discredited poll that handed the presidency back to the incumbent, who has been in power since 2014. – Reuters and Nyasa Times

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