PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the current chairperson of the SADC Organ of Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, has urged stakeholders in today’s Malawi presidential elections to be politically tolerant and channel any grievances arising from the polls to relevant bodies.
Almost a year after Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika’s disputed election victory that was annulled in February by the country’s Constitutional Court, Malawians are casting their votes again to choose a new President.
President Mutharika, who is vying for a second term is up against opposition coalition leader Mr Lazarus Chakwera in an election high on emotions.
Although the opposition embraced the February annulment of the presidential results, President Mutharika described it as a “serious subversion of justice” which marked the death of the country’s democracy leading to the building of tensions ahead of today’s polls.
In a statement issued on Monday President Mnangagwa said as Malawians vote, SADC stands in solidarity with its people and remains engaged with all stakeholders in that country.
“Furthermore, SADC encourages all candidates, their supporters and other stakeholders to channel any grievances regarding the electoral process and its final outcomes through the appropriate legal channels,” the President said.
Malawians have gone to vote under the dark cloud of Covid-19, a global pandemic that has not spared Africa. To curb the spread of the highly contagious disease, nations have introduced a raft of measures such as social distancing, limits on the number of people in public gatherings, regular washing of hands and also wearing face masks.
President Mnangagwa called on stakeholders in Malawi to thus embrace innovative voting measures in the wake of the highly contagious Covid-19 pandemic.
There have been concerns in some circles over how Malawi will manage logistical and safety challenges of conducting an election in the throes of a worldwide pandemic.