Political parties admit they are in a fix on how to woo voters ahead of the July 2 fresh presidential election with precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restricting public gatherings.
M a l a w i E l e c t o r a l Commission (MEC) on Saturday launched the official campaign period for the election ordered by a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as a Constitutional Court which on February 3 nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over alleged irregularities.
In Malawi political parties bank on public rallies as a medium to woo voters. However, such gatherings may not be possible as government has banned gatherings of more than 100 people at one place as a Covid-19 precautionary measure.
In an interview yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi said his party is in a dilemma because the Covid-19 precautionary measures do not allow mobilising of thousands of people for campaign rallies.
He said: “This is a very precarious situation. It is a time when we don’t know what to say. But I need to consult and give best answers on that.”
But in a written response, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign director Moses Kunkuyu said the party and its alliance partners will reach out to potential voters through a digital platform, among other strategies.
He said the party and partners will also engage grass-roots structures in disseminating campaign messages to potential voters who will cast a fresh ballot on in the next 58 days.
Kunkuyu said: “The suffering of Malawians has been and continues to be our greatest campaign tool. Covid or no Covid, Malawians have their hopes in the opposition alliance.”
UTM Party, one of MCP’s key alliance partners, earlier announced the establishment of a digital command centre in Lilongwe from where officials would be virtually addressing audiences through radio and television in a set-up modelled along the political rally set-up.
During the launch of the official campaign period, embattled MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said in view of the global pandemic and various public health guidelines and restrictions in place, candidates will have to find other innovative ways of reaching out to the electorate.
MEC has also restricted a t t e n d a n c e o f t h e presentation of nomination papers by presidential candidates and their running mates in the election this Wednesday and Thursday at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.