Democratic Progressive Party president Peter Mutharika has presented his nomination papers to contest as presidential candidate in the May 20 Malawi elections.
The mood at Comesa Hall in Blantyre was electric this morning when Mutharika arrived and presented his papers. The event was spiced by Mutharika’s announcement that he has picked Airtel Malawi managing director Saulos Chilima as his running mate.
The DPP torch bearer was the first presidential candidate to present his papers. The presentation of nomination papers by presidential candidates began this morning and will end on Friday with People’s Party presidential candidate Joyce Banda.
Speaking after presenting his nomination papers, Mutharika said the May 2014 elections will be crucial and a turning point “as you are aware of the tough conditions we are going through as a country”.
Said Mutharika: “I feel greatly honoured to be here, I thank MEC for doing a good job from registration process to nomination. I wish them well and hope that we will have free and fair elections.”
Mutharika then urged other parties not to manipulate the system to deny Malawians a candidate of their choice.
“The president we will choose we should all support that person. There have been difficulties, but with God almighty we are here. I accept responsibility but I cannot do this alone,” said Mutharika in ending his short speech.
Said Mbendera: “Our Honorable Candidate, 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. The race sometimes can get intense and muddy. I urge you to confine yourself to a civilised campaign. Malawians are tired of mud-slinging and foul-mouthed electioneering. For a change, they want this election to be issue-based. I would like to urge you, Sir, to champion the cause for a clean campaign.”
He said the Commission, in consultation with all political parties and electoral stakeholders developed a Code of Conduct for Candidates and Political Parties during elections. This Code of Conduct provides guidelines of how to conduct campaign and some of the things which candidates or their followers should not do.
He urged Mutharika and his party to publicise the Code of Conduct and to observe it.
Further to that, elections have guiding legislation adding that the Commission has compiled all the electoral laws into one booklet.
Mbendera, addressing the Green Card issue, said MEC sought independent views from three legal practitioners—the Attorney General, an eminent senior counsel and an independent firm of lawyers advised the commission that a holder of a Green Card should not and cannot be barred from contesting as a presidential candidate in Malawi.
He promised Malawians a free and fair election.
“We are independent and we will continue to remain so,” said Mbendera.