As unofficial results show that Tonse Alliance torch bearer Lazarus Chakwera has won the fresh presidential election, political analysts have said the outcome is not surprising.
In the June 23 election, the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) formed an alliance with the United Democratic Front (UDF) while Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) partnered Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s UTM Party and seven other political parties to form the Tonse Alliance.
In separate interviews yesterday, two University of Malawi political analysts—Professor Blessings Chinsinga and Mustapha Hussein—said it has been clear for some time that Malawians wanted a change of leadership owing to DPP’s poor governance.
Chinsinga said the DPP has itself to blame for its downfall, adding for a long time it took Malawians for granted.
He said: “Corruption and nepotism are among issues that have led to the party’s loss of popularity.”
Chinsinga added that the party’s support started dwindling after the 2009 General Elections because the then president [Bingu wa Mutharika] had started pursuing a personal and tribal agenda which sidelined the majority of Malawians.
He explained: “After 2009, instead of focusing on the national project they shifted to a tribal project and if you recall that coincided with the formation of Mulhako wa Alhomwe where the President even became a patron.
“The majority of Malawians feel sidelined and this is where the problem started.”
Chinsinga has since warned that DPP risks dying from the political scene if it does not reorganise itself.
Chinsinga also doubts the continued working relationship between DPP and UDF from opposition benches while Hussein thinks there is a high chance the two parties will continue their partnership of convenience.
Hussein also believes that poor governance, including corruption, nepotism and lack of respect for the rule or law, is what has led to DPP’s poor show in the election.
He argues that while Malawians have generally been dissatisfied with the DPP since 2014–the street protests that followed the 2019 elections and the nullification of the May 2019 presidential election results made citizens more aware of governance challenges that the country has witnessed under the regime.
Said Hussein: “The teaming up of different political parties under Tonse Alliance strengthened their standing in this election. The UTM Party was an advantage as it came out clearly on how it intended to fix socio-economic challenges facing the country.”
He urged Tonse Alliance to fulfil their campaign promises such as cheap fertiliser, ending quota system and increasing employment opportunities if they are to sustain citizens’ trust.
On his part, seasoned politician and political commentator Humphrey Mvula attributed the DPP’s fall to arrogance and failure to deliver on its promises.
He said: “The party promised so many projects for the sake of votes, but has not delivered. Most senior members joined the train for the sake of the blue envelopes and in the absence of these dubious benefits the party will not survive. It has a weak foundation, what held it together was power. And corruption has cost the DPP their power.”
DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, when contacted for the party’s side of the story, said he needed to consult, but could not pick our calls afterwards on several attempts.
Asked what the President makes of the unofficial results and if he is ready to accept results if not in his favour, presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said: “Should there be any communication from the President on these issues we shall let you know.”
Former President Bakili Muluzi, whose son Atupele was Mutharika’s running mate in the election, told Zodiak Television yesterday he was unaware of the unofficial results that show Tonse Alliance to be in the lead. He, however, appealed to all candidates to accept the outcome of the election.
While MEC is yet to announce official results, unofficial results show that Chakwera has won with the over 50 percent-plus-one majority as ordered by the court.