Call for unity is questionable

Experience has shown that inauguration speeches by presidents after winning an election are characterised by pledges and pleas. Just like other leaders, in his inauguration speech on May 31 2019, President Peter Mutharika appealed to all Malawians to unite.

Surprisingly, he said this after winning an election which was alleged to be fraudulent, and other presidential candidates had not conceded defeat. Instead, they are crying foul as they are alleging that the election has been stolen from them.

With euphoria of winning his second-term election, President Mutharika thinks it is automatic for the people of Malawi to unite. The President should know better that unity requires favourable conditions.

In fact, it is during his rule that Malawians have been more divided than ever before. At the moment, it is not time to call for unity when the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM, both of which have a large following, have taken the matter of election to the High Court.

All this is in addition to the street protests to register their public anger and disbelief of the outcome of the elections. Most demonstrators and other Malawians point an accusing finger at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) whose performance leaves a lot to be desired. Their performance has proved beyond any doubt that in an election voters do not matter but those who count votes matter since that is where an election is won or lost.

After all, the civic education by MEC officials, especially on voting procedures, which included ensuring that voters had to carefully mark within the box of their chosen candidate, MEC’s own work was shoddy.

People thought MEC meant business and even more so when they assured Malawians that elections will not be rigged. But to everyone’s surprise, MEC tally sheets which made rounds in the social media looked like the record sheets had just been salvaged from a rubbish dump. Figures were tippe-xed and whatever was written over was changed countless times. No one can make sense out of it. If this was the work that auditors working with MEC approved then it raises doubts about the level of the auditors who were assigned to such important work.

As if this was not bad enough, rumours went round that after the voting was closed some people were alleged to be still ticking presidential cards in their homes. If this was/is true and MEC accepted them then it defeats all purpose of voting and let MEC choose the winner and losers. It is the alleged malpractices at MEC which bring in the question of fraud.

For example, for one to accept to tick presidential ballots privately, after the close of voting, he deserves to be bribed with large sums of money for such a risky business. The anomaly here is that the heavy bribes are likely to be taxpayers’ money which means that money for development is being used to put an individual into leadership position.

Assuming that what is stated above is what MEC actually did, then its credibility is lost. This is why in some quarters people are asking for the presidential results to be nullified.

With what is stated in this article, it is rather naïve for the President to call for unity. What he needs to do is first sort out the election problems caused by MEC to the satisfaction of all Malawians. The most satisfying solution is to nullify the results and call for fresh elections. Failing which, the revenge might destroy government.

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