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HomeRegionalTop NewsAchikulire says: 50 + 1 makes sense, but can MCP achieve this?

Achikulire says: 50 + 1 makes sense, but can MCP achieve this?

The MCP are still seething with anger that they believe the May 20 chaotic elections were stolen from them by the DPP.

They also continue to charge the winner APM is not a majority leader as he only bagged 36 percent of the vote , while MCP’s candidate Lazarus Chakwera trailed with 28 percent. JB got a poor 20 percent.

 The MCP, which has been in opposition since 1994 and have come second all the time, says it will be gunning for the change in the constitution to allow for a 50+ 1 electoral system, to out the current system where the winner with the highest votes should be declared the winner. They call it first past the post.

Well-known MCP MP Jessie Kabwira thinks Malawi has a president who rules with  “few votes”. She believes it is time the country was ruled with someone who garners “universal support.”

   So, what will 50+ 1 entail?

   A 2007 constitutional review recommended that a presidential winner should garner over 50 percent of the votes. That is to say he must be able to bag votes throughout the 28 districts.

   The current state of affairs, according to Section 80 (2) of the constitution states that “the president shall be elected by a majority of the electorate through direct, universal and equal suffrage.”

   But the 2007 review recommended that this section should read:” The president shall be elected by a majority of more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast through direct, universal and equal suffrage, and where such majority is not obtained  in the first ballot, the necessary number of ballots  between the presidential  candidate who obtained the greatest number of votes  and the runner-up, together with their respective vice presidential candidates shall be conducted until such result is reached.”

   For a very tribalistic and regionalistic country like Malawi, the recommended review may pose serious challenges as the country may not get a winner who can bag 50+ 1 votes in one voting. I don’t know how Bingu wa Mutharika did it in 2009 to win by 68 percent. Probably because they were only two candidates—Bingu vs JZU.

   The original framers of the constitution knew what they were doing for proposing first-past-the-post system. They might have foreseen the tribalistic and regional tendencies in voting, as the centre votes for the MCP, while the south votes for southern party and the north in general has no clear position on whom to vote for these days, with some districts voting for the ruling party.

   In the 2014 election, I don’t know how a candidate would have won by 50+ given the high number of competing candidates:12. Not that the other candidates were too small, but we had four top guns: APM, LC, JB and AM, all fighting for the same voters.

   Can the MCP, which banks on the central region vote, manage a 50+ 1 vote? Can this be possible, really? Can the DPP manage a 50+ 1 vote?

 I doubt it, unless a party steals the vote. If the DPP stole the vote in May, then they were kind thieves by stealing only 36 percent of the presidential vote. If the DPP stole the parliamentary vote, then they were also very kind thieves who left something. They could have cleaned the house with 120 seats, to secure a majority in parliament.

Malawi needs to carefully tread on this issue and find the best formula on how a president should be declared. Otherwise, too many parties and presidential candidates in the name of democracy are spoiling the show.

Unfortunately, in the name of democracy as well, we cannot stop politicians with a dream to occupy state house to moot their own briefcase outfits. You cannot tell why everybody wants to be president of this poor nation with so many problems to solve.

For Kabwila and MCP, unfortunately you will stuck with a president you don’t want to see until 2019. I wish the MCP all the best in 2019 as they should surely win by 50+ 1 to get into government once again in the era of democratic dispensation.Thank you very much!


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