For the past three days, just like most Malawians in the diaspora, I have had sleepless nights listening to Zodiak radio which has been covering this year’s parliamentary and presidential elections in Malawi.
The pundits were predicting that the presidential race was going to be tight because the incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was competing against a united opposition of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Mr John Tembo and supported by the former president, Bakili Muluzi. Their arguments were based on the fact that Malawi traditionally votes based on regional lines. Apart from Muluzi, Tembo had also crossed party lines and picked UDF’s Brown Mpinganjira from the populous Southern Region as his running mate. With this formation, the pundits thought that John Tembo would garner more votes from the Southern region while beating Mutharika comprehensively in the Central Region, MCP’s stronghold. Mutharika was expected to carry the day in the less populous Northern Region.
At the end of everything, the pundits have been proved wrong because Dr. Mutharika was proclaimed the winner with more than 6o% of the vote. Since the advent of multiparty democracy, I have never seen a presidential candidate getting votes from all the corners of the country like this. Mutharika did very well in places like Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dowa and Mchinji which are said to be “owned” by MCP. Mutharika’s DPP will also enjoy an overwhelming majority in the next parliament as they have won seats across the country. The DPP has emerged as real national party. Malawians have now realized that regionalism will not take us anywhere. The DPP government is doing well in many areas including food security and economic management. In 2008, Malawi’s economy grew by 9.7%. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. People are seeing all these things and they have responded in style by giving Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and his DPP a strong mandate to continue their good work for the next five years. Congratulations, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party :).
Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and his Vice president, Joyce Banda, the first Malawian woman in this office, were sworn in yesterday at the Kamuzu Stadium. The former president, Bakili Muluzi, who had earlier on congratulated the president on his resounding victory was also in attendance leaving John Tembo fighting a lone battle against the legitimacy of the results. To make matters worse for Mr. John Tembo, his party, MCP, has now conceded defeat and congratulated President Mutharika for securing a second term of office. The party is also demanding Mr Tembo’s resignation from the presidency.These are times for new beginnings. I hope that the folks in the UDF will also ask their Chair to resign as well.
Dignitaries from various countries that witnessed the inauguration ceremony include President Rupia Banda of Zambia, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Vice President of Tanzania Ali Mohamed Sheni, prime minister of Swaziland Sibusiso Dlamini and Prime Minister of Rwanda, Bernard Makuza.
For other views on Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika’s landslide victory, you may wish to take a look at the following blog posts:
- Malawi’s Watershed Elections of May 2009
- Well done DPP, well done Malawians
- Malawi President Wins Re-election
- Malawian president wins second term
- Massive turnout at Bingu’s inauguration
- Malawi’s Mutharika wins second term
- Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika inaugurated president
- Malawi 2009 Election Results: Pres. Bingu wa Mutharika re-elected
- Malawi’s inconsistency bears balk
- Malawians have broken regionalism, RB
- Malawi: “I’ll fight corruption”
- Malawi’s Musical Elections