Malawi has been named country of the year by The Economist Newspaper following the supreme court decision to annul its presidential election.
“When Peter Mutharika, the incumbent, was declared the winner of Malawi’s presidential election in May 2019, it seemed a textbook case of rigging. Voting sheets had been altered with Tipp-Ex, a correction fluid. International observers complained only half-heartedly. But Malawians fought back. Activists organised peaceful protests. Opposition parties went to the Constitutional Court. In February its judges, apparently after turning down bribes, granted a re-run, which was held on June 23rd,” the newspaper quoted
The newspaper explains that “there is a blueprint for presidents keen to rig elections. First, use state resources to bribe, fool and bully people before the poll. Once voting starts, stuff the ballot boxes or fiddle the tallies. Afterwards, make sure the army and judges are on your side in case opponents take their case to the streets or to the courts.”
That vote was annulled by Malawi’s top court over “widespread and systematic” irregularities and a re-run election was held on June 23.
Allegations of vote-rigging sparked protests across the normally peaceful country last year shortly after results were announced. Several of the demonstrations turned violent.
Chakwera, 65, comfortably beat Peter Mutharika with 58.5 per cent of the vote, marking the first time in African history that an election re-run led to the defeat of an incumbent.
A triumphant Chakwera gave a rousing speech after receiving the sword of command from the army general Peter Namathanga in the capital Lilongwe
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