As the country continues to wait with bated breath for release of election results, majority of businesses in the Capital City, Lilongwe, were closed yesterday amid growing tension and fear of violence and confusion.
Security was tight in the city with police manning checkpoints at various places, but no major flashpoint was reported.
Meanwhile, supporters of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), whose leader and candidate Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday claimed he taken a commanding lead in the elections, assembled at the party’s head office and staged celebrations of alleged victory.
The supporters waited for news of the official announcement at the party’s headquarters, where they assembled in large numbers. They danced and jubilated, only to troop back home slowly, deflated and in anguish as the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) once again failed to give an update of the results, citing some 147 complaints it has received on the polling that it needs to resolve.
Some officials of the party and supporters told Weekend Nation the party was assured of victory but suspected it was being robbed of victory.
The youths have been assembling at the party headquarters from May 21 2019. Some of the youths had previously served as party monitors. Inside the party headquarters, officials told this reporter the party had its tally centre which had tabulated results from various monitors across the country.
To beat anxiety, a few men turned to beer. Most turned to mobile phones for any election-related news, especially articles that suggested the party was triumphing.
A few, suffering exhaustion, slept inside cars. Some did not have kind words for MEC chairperson Jane Ansah for delaying the results. Others hailed Chakwera in songs for finally taking MCP back into office—after a break of about 25 years.
At 12 noon, agony reigned after MEC shifted the update briefing to 1pm. Then 1pm became 2pm. And 2pm brought news more agonising waiting. The singing was immediately replaced by palpable frustration.