Malawi Vice-President Khumbo Kachali has said the US elections remain a model of how to conduct democracy.
Kachali made the observation at the US Ambassadorâ€™s residence on Wednesday, where he was among guests invited to a US election results breakfast.
Said the VP: â€œThe [Malawi] Government is committed to building a robust electoral system to give a chance to all Malawians to participate in the democratic processes.â€
Kachali said the US is not only a crucial partner in consolidation of Malawiâ€™s young democracy but also a model of how to conduct open, transparent and accountable elections that reflect the will of the people.
US Ambassador Jeanine Jackson said all Malawiansâ€”young and old, men and womenâ€”should be encouraged to get involved now for the success of the forthcoming 2014 general elections.
â€œThe Unites States encourages the democratic processes across Africa. I would like to encourage all Malawians, men and especially women, to rally families and communities to get involved now in Malawiâ€™s democratic processes in preparation for the 2014 elections,â€ she said.
But Jackson cautioned: â€œCitizens must be empowered to participate in democratic institutions and processes every day, not just when it comes to time of vote.â€
Although Obama did not get a landslide victory to get back to White House, a mock vote at the US Ambassadorâ€™s residence seemed to suggest that Malawians wanted Obama to get a further four years.
â€œIâ€™ve breaking news. Malawians today voted 91 percent for Democrats,â€ Jackson announced, attracting a loud applause from the guests, who included local politicians, academia, civil rights activists and journalists who witnessed results of the US polls.
Obamaâ€™s re-election partly means African countries such as Malawi do not have to immediately worry about policy change effects in terms of US aid as is normally the case when Democrats and Republicans switch power.
In 2011, Malawi got up to $223 million in aid from the US government.
â€œThe United States government has been a great partner, supporting all our previous elections, training various sectors of electoral processes and, more importantly, financing part of our elections and many other sectors of development. After the elections, we look forward to such a continued partnership from the people of the United States of America,â€ said Kachali.
Obama polled 50 percent from individual votersâ€™ count against Republican Mitt Romneyâ€™s 49 percent.
But the US president got 303 of the Electoral College vote which decides the American presidency, ahead of Romney at 206 out of the 538 electors forming the Electoral College.
To be elected president of the US, a candidate should poll an absolute majority in the Electoral College, currently at 270.
The Electoral College was established in the US constitution as a compromise between election of the president by a vote in Congress and election of the president by a popular vote of qualified citizens.
Commenting on the US elections and lessons that could be drawn from there, political scientist Dr. Augustine Magolowondo said what is important is that elections, no matter how closely contested, at the end of the day, elect only one winner.
Said Magolowondo: â€œImportant, therefore, is the process. Once all contestants have confidence in the system, they all accept the outcome and the winner celebrates with humility.â€
Newly elected United Democratic Front (UDF) national chairperson Atupele Muluzi said one key lesson from the US elections is that the spirit of determination to compete in a democratic setting is crucial, no matter how closely contested the polls are.
â€œWe need to focus our attention on issues and aspirations of our people. We need to come together in the spirit of developing our country,â€ said Atupele, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development in the Joyce Banda Cabinet.
Nicholas Dausi, spokesperson for the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said the American elections should teach Malawians that in a democracy,Â politicians should focus their energy on issues that affect the people.
Said Dausi: â€œTo marry with the Malawi scenario, we are talking of how [the Farm Input] Subsidy [Programme] can help our people, fuel issues, hunger and on foreign policy, the issue of Malawi-Tanzania border. We donâ€™t need to politicise these issues.â€