Malawi vote recount may take two months

2014-05-26 20:39
Malawi President Joyce Banda. (File, AFP)

Malawi President Joyce Banda. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lilongwe - Malawi is only likely to have an official result of its chaotic 20 May election in two months, as the Malawi Electoral Commission embarks on a process to manually count the votes, a senior official said on Monday.

The High Court on Saturday overturned President Joyce Banda's decree to annul the election that had raised the spectre of violence in the impoverished southern African country.

Banda, southern Africa's first female head of state, has alleged massive fraud and rampant irregularities in the election in which 11 opposition parties are seeking to unseat her and her People Party.

Preliminary results gave her main rival Peter Mutharika of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party a lead, before the commission (MEC) suspended further announcements.

"The commission has agreed with the parties that an implementation plan for the recount of the ballot papers be done this week," Commissioner Chimkwita Phiri told Reuters.

"We envisage that the vote audit may take us not more than two months to conclude."

Banda's order to scrap the elections and hold a new vote within 90 days triggered protests and was challenged by the electoral authority and Mutharika who said she had no legal grounds. Banda had indicated she would not be a candidate in new elections, to guarantee a credible outcome.

Her thwarted move was backed by the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the rejuvenated movement of late dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda who ran Malawi with an iron first for 30 years after independence from Britain.

"We have filed complaints and we are ready for a fresh election even today ... we also do not agree with the 30% official results that the MEC has released so far because of rampant irregularities," party vice president Richard Msowoya told a news conference in the capital Lilongwe.

The cost

The smaller opposition United Democratic Front also wants a recount or a new election, citing rigging in the initial ballot, which was plagued by a plethora of problems including late delivery of voting materials and ballot papers being sent to the wrong places.

The chaos has angered the electorate, and will further displease foreign donors whose approval of Banda, installed as president two years ago after the death in office of Bingu wa Mutharika, has waned after a corruption scandal hit her administration.

"Its very clear that the electoral commission has caused this mess and they need time to rectify it," Malawian civil servant Innocent Chikoti said on Monday.

"But then again, I fear the cost of doing this, do we have the money and are donors going to help fund the recount or a fresh election?"

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    joyce banda  |  malawi
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Habana believes in younger Boks
All Blacks ready for a 'hell of a battle'
Barnes to ref Boks, Wales clash
Brave Blossoms: 'Sport heroes of Japan'
Traffic Alerts

Your incisive and innovative mind is on fire. You may be keen to explore new avenues that can help to inspire you. You more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.