Four of the 12 presidential candidates in the May 20 Tripartite Elections are spending the period between end of official campaigning and polling day in different styles, with some attending church services and others indicating they are yet to decide what to do.
Campaigning for the May 20 Tripartite Elections closed at 6am on Sunday as per electoral laws, giving aspirants and their supporters 48 hours of rest before polling day.
Presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane said in an interview on Sunday that incumbent President Joyce Banda, who is leading the governing People’s Party (PP), is spending her time in her office at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
Said Nhlane: “During the last hours to the elections, Her Excellency President Joyce Banda will be in a jovial mood as usual and she will be in the office at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.”
Banda is expected to cast her vote in her home, Zomba Malosa Constituency, where she registered.
On his part, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday attended a service at his church, International Christian Assembly in Lilongwe, accompanied by his wife for the first service of the day whose theme was ‘Creating a legacy out of your life: Serving one’s generation’.
Chakwera, a former president of the Malawi Assemblies of God and a novice in politics, has been campaigning on the promise of providing ‘transformational leadership’ and offering a different form of governance while addressing the country’s challenges such as poor quality of education, dwindling health service provision and a corrupt civil service.
In an interview after the service, Chakwera said apart from holding meetings at MCP headquarters at 10am and meeting pastors at 11.30am yesterday, he would spend his day with his children and grandchildren as always.
He said he would spend the eve of polling day relaxing with his family before travelling to his home village to cast his vote at Malembo Primary School in Lilongwe North West Constituency. He is also contesting as a member of Parliament (MP) in the constituency.
After the service, Chakwera and his wife took time out to pose for pictures with children, women and men.
Youthful United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi said in an interview yesterday he is spending the post-campaign period with his campaign team, making sure that they are organised nationwide.
Said Atupele: “I just arrived in Blantyre from Lilongwe last night [Saturday] and today [Sunday] I will spend lunch with my family, my wife, my son and daughter. I was ever on the road and I have to give them this time.”
Atupele, son to the country’s first multiparty president Bakili Muluzi, said it has been a long journey which started some three years ago and they put up a good fight and was certain UDF would yield fruits to the benefit of all Malawians.
He said he will be voting at Kapoloma in his Machinga North East Constituency where he is also contesting as an MP.
However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika yesterday said he was not decided on how he is going to spend his last hours to the polls.
Mutharika, who is also contesting as an MP in Thyolo East Constituency, said he was resting and should he decide how to spend his last hours, he would communicate.
Said Mutharika: “After the extensive campaign period, I am now resting.”
Besides Banda, Chakwera, Atupele and Mutharika, eight other hopefuls for the presidency are Davis Katsonga of Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP), George Nnensa who is leading the Tisintha Alliance, Kamuzu Chibambo of the People’s Transformation Party (Petra), John Chisi of Umodzi Party (UP), Friday Jumbe of New Labour Party (NLP), Mark Katsonga Phiri of People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), James Nyondo of National Salvation Front (Nasaf) and Helen Singh of United Independent Party (UIP).
However, analysts have said the race to State House will be closely fought among the four, Banda, Chakwera, Atupele and Mutharika.