Malawi: Opposition Protest Incumbent Re-election


Opposition supporters in Malawi have this week taken to the streets to protest the official results of the May 21 elections, which returned incumbent President Mutharika to power for a second term.

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has alleged that the elections were fraudulent. Official results put the party’s presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera on 35.41% of the vote compared to Mutharika on 38.57% of the vote, with just 159,000 votes separating the two.

On Tuesday thousands of protestors took to the streets in Lilongwe to demand that Chakwera been named president. The MCP is challenging the outcome in the courts, making specific allegations that correction fluid was used on some of the election results sheets. Chakwera has described the outcome as “daylight robbery.” 

The EU deputy chief election observer Mark Stephens has been reported as telling AFP that his team "acknowledge there were a lot of mistakes that were made in the tallying". In their preliminary assessment of the elections foreign observers also noted that while the process had been peaceful there had not been a level playing field. The EU mission’s chief observer Miroslav Poche had also pointed to the abuse of state resources and the bias of state media as problematic. 

President Mutharika was inaugurated last Friday.