Presidential candidates in today’s tripartite elections yesterday said they were fired up, relaxed, in high spirits and looking forward to Malawians’ choice of leaders to steer the country in the next five years.
In interviews on the eve of the election day, none of the seven candidates said they felt jittery or nervous after a gruelling 60-day official campaign period that closed at 6am on Sunday. From the interviews, they all expressed a wish for peaceful elections that would be a model the world over.
Incumbent President Peter Mutharika, speaking through presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani, said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate was well and in a jovial mood.
He said: “He is calm, very jovial about the polls. You know very well that Professor Mutharika is a calm person and that’s his state.
“His only call is for Malawians to go en-masse and vote, but is also calling upon candidates in the polls to let the will of the people prevail. He doesn’t need violence and is urging everybody to be peaceful.”
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who parted ways with Mutharika and DPP last June and is the torchbearer for UTM Party, also said he was in high spirits and very jovial.
Speaking through Milward Tobias, special assistant on economic affairs in the Office of the Vice-President, Chilima said he was looking forward to the voting day that affords Malawians an opportunity to decide their future in a peaceful manner.
He said: “We are calm here, very calm and looking forward to voting. The Vice-President is fine, very fine.”
On his part, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera in an interview said he was relaxed and looking forward to voting.
He said: “We have run a good race, so I am not panicking. I am just fine. I am just waiting for the time to come so that I go to the village to vote. I also expect that we will have a peaceful day. We don’t want any incidents of violence.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Atupele Muluzi who, through the party’s spokesperson Ken Ndanga, said he was all smiles.
Said Ndanga: “I have spoken to my president and he is in very high spirits. All is well within our camp. No worries. No stress!”
The sole independent presidential candidate in the race, Revelend Kaliya, said he saw no reason to be nervous because Malawians know what they want.
Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD) presidential candidate Peter Kuwani said he is in a relaxed mood because the elections are not about individual agendas, but that of the nation.
While stating that he was happy that the day has finally come, Professor John Chisi of Umodzi Party said he is worried that Mutharika did not sign the peace declaration by Public Affairs Committee (PAC).
He said: “The professor is fine, you know we professors are always calm people.”
Mutharika failed to sign the declaration because he did not attend the prayer function organised by PAC as the schedule coincided with his trip to Mzuzu in the Northern Region. In 2014, all presidential candidates signed the declaration.
Today’s elections are the sixth since 1994 when the country held the first post-independence multiparty general elections which saw Bakili Muluzi winning on UDF ticket.