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Of democratic elections and motives to discredit the integrity/credibility of the electoral process: A cause for concern in democratic Malawi

Malawians from all walks of life partook in their fifth multiparty democratic election on the 20th of May 2014. For most it was a great day to democratically express themselves given the fact that it has almost become di rigour or rather precedence that they are apparently rendered voiceless by unscrupulous politicians soon after elections.

Therefore elections furnish them with their only weapon to get rid of such impudence from apparently ungrateful and sometimes greedy politicians. Now as peaceful and as God fearing as Malawians are – humbling themselves in their large numbers in patience and perseverance – a majority of whom as destitute as they could be 50 years after independence – choosing to express themselves democratically rather than apathazing – not by revolution but through the ballot – it becomes prudent to respect that humility.

The issue in perspective is that when you begin to hear cases of some elements from the defense forces, from the police service or otherwise apparently motivating the incumbent to begin challenging or rather discrediting the credibility or integrity of the Electoral body as a legally binding democratic institution vested with the powers and mandate to oversee the electoral process because she is apparently losing – it becomes a cause for concern. Inciting any candidate – incumbent or not however your portfolio to begin questioning the integrity of an electoral body as the incumbent has started doing constitutes a cause for concern especially when its emanating from elements that are supposed to be impartial.

There is enough evidence to suspect that the incumbent is being motivated or rather incited to do what she has began doing. Without a pinch of remorse she held a press briefing yesterday Thursday 22nd May discrediting the integrity and credibility of the Electoral commission on unfounded, flimsy, ridiculous, mundane and to some extent shameless allegations.

The million dollar question that arises in this scenario is as to whom between the opposition and ruling parties has the potential or rather chances or the least probability of rigging an election. It was disgraceful and embarrassing for a group of honorable people to gather themselves and rather than humbly accept the reality on the ground begin making crazy allegations against an institution of high integrity such as is the Electoral commission.

We should accept that the commission has had challenges on the ground which of course for any Malawian who is sane enough were inevitable considering the fact that this was the first tripartite election. However it becomes a problem when people begin to take advantage or rather capitalize on such inevitable lapses and it even becomes worrisome when such is being motivated by elements that are supposed to protect the people and entire nation and are supposed to show no streak of impartiality.

What is however even more worrisome is that such discrediting of the Electoral commission and such apparent incitation from such elements as are the Defense forces or the Police service by extension puts the lives of millions of peace loving Malawians and God fearing Malawians whom in their multitudes choose to express themselves democratically in jeopardy.

This puts lives of Malawians at stake albeit by extension because it boarders on incitement of civil strife and because of that it is tantamount to criminality and not just petty criminality but an affront or specifically a crime against humanity. Those therefore involved in such motivations or incitements should watch their backs and become responsible, should shelve their greedy motives and personal aggrandizements and consider the plight of all Malawians including innocent children who were not even involved in the whole electoral process.

The concerns herewith highlighted come against the background that Dr Joyce Banda is apparently challenging her apparent loss in the elections and there are even rumors that she intends to incite demonstrations on the streets. It also comes against the backdrop of allegations that some big personnel from the defense forces and police service went to Professor Peter Mutharika’s house in Lilongwe wanting to arrest him , of a warrant of arrest against his running mate Saulos Chilima on allegations of hacking the Electoral commission’s computer systems and allegations of warrants of arrest against Ben Phiri and another DPP dignitary on allegations that they were cited on late Jeffa Kamanya’s suicide note as having been threatening him.

All this boils down to the fact that something is critically wrong in the entire process and there is cause for worry on the part of Malawians. It is also pertinent to highlight that some elements – criminal, rogue or otherwise can also take advantage of such lapses especially with respect to security and incite unnecessary mayhem in our esteemed nation despite our bid to express ourselves peacefully, humbly and democratically through the ballot box which apparently has to be respected.


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