Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah set the tone for the May 21
The MEC chairperson made the appeal at Chichiri International Conference Centre in Blantyre, widely known as Comesa Hall, when she received nomination papers from presidential candidates Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) and John Chisi (Umodzi Party) at the start of the week-long exercise.
Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and a former Attorney General, said Malawians were tired of mudslinging and stressed the need for leaders to adhere to and publicise the election code of conduct.
While assuring that the electoral body would manage the electoral process with impartiality, she said: “Elections are a competition which no-one participates with an expectation of losing. However, it remains a clear fact that only one person emerges winner at the end.
Ansah said the race also gets intense and muddy, but urges the candidates to inspire first-time voters born after the year 2000, to vote.
During presentation, MEC gave the presidential candidates five minutes each to address the gathering. Chakwera delivered his speech in four minutes and 50 seconds while Chisi took five minutes.
In his address, Chakwera, who was the first to present nomination papers accompanied by his running mate Muhammad Sidik Mia, said he represents the change Malawians want to build a new Malawi guided by his ‘Chakwera Hi5’ principles which are: servant leadership, a united nation, prospering together, ending corruption and respect for the rule of law.
He said: “You have tried the rest, now try the best. My name is Lazarus Chakwera… If you want change, I have come to be your President.”
Chisi, who unveiled his party’s director of strategic planning Timothy Kamulete as running mate, was cheered on by a sizeable partisan audience, comprising mostly women, dressed in his party’s deep blue cloth.
His audience and pomp were in sharp contrast to the hype set by MCP, whose pair arrived and left the venue waving at well-wishers from an open pick-up truck decorated in predominant MCP colours of red and green. In contrast, Chisi and his entourage boarded a white Renault Duster, a sport utility vehicle.
The Umodzi Party torchbearer, accompanied by his 23-year-old daughter Towera, said he is a serious contender for State House as he has been active in the past four years.
He condemned political violence and outlined education, employment and justice for all as Umodzi Party pillars.
Said Chisi: “A vote is a precious tool for change. Let’s vote. There should be no more tears after these elections. If we vote wrongly, we will delay the country’s progress by 20 years!”
In the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Chakwera finished second with 1 455 880 votes against 1 904 399 for the winner incumbent President Peter Mutharika. Chisi, on the other hand, had 12 048 votes from a total of 5 285 258 votes cast. n