Mutharika wins Malawi's disputed election

2014-05-31 07:29

(Shutterstock)

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

Blantyre - Democratic Progressive Party leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi's disputed presidential election on Friday after defeating President Joyce Banda.

Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4% of the votes cast against Banda's 20.2%, the electoral commission said.

The results were announced minutes after the high court refused a last-ditch attempt to block their release and allow time for a recount.

Electoral commission chief Maxon Mbendera declared Mutharika "president-elect" after last week's vote, which Banda said was marred by "serious irregularities" and "null and void".

The results showed that Banda was beaten into third place by Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), garnering 27.8% of the vote.

Party spokesperson Jessie Kabwila told AFP the MCP, which had made the bid for a recount, would challenge the results in court.

"We are disappointed because this is not a credible election. We will fight through legal means...we are not taking this lying down."

Treason charge

Mutharika is set to take the reins of the impoverished southern African country under the shadow of a treason charge.

The 74-year-old brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika is accused of attempting to conceal his brother's death in office two years ago in an attempt to prevent Banda - then vice-president - from assuming power.

Banda prevailed and took office as decreed by the constitution, booting the former foreign minister out of the administration.

Mutharika, a law professor and former cabinet minister, faces additional counts of inciting a mutiny and conspiracy to commit a felony, along with other officials.

The trial is still pending, but analysts say it is likely the case will be set aside as Malawi's presidents enjoy immunity from prosecution as long as they are in office.

There is speculation that once Mutharika is in power he could turn the tables on Banda and have her charged with corruption over a $30m graft scandal dubbed "Cashgate".

Banda has claimed the credit for uncovering the fraud, which saw aid money siphoned into top government officials' pockets. But critics, including Mutharika, say the funds went into her party's election war-chest.

"Banda did everything in her power to prevent Mutharika from becoming president... and then bringing charges against her," said Clive Gabay of the Queen Mary University of London.

Controversy

The election in the tiny southern African nation was dogged by controversy from the start, with some polling stations opening 10 hours late and some voting stations recording more votes than there were registered voters.

Anyone with complaints has seven days to lodge petitions with the courts.

Riot police patrolled key areas of the commercial capital Blantyre as the results were announced after earlier demonstrations turned violent.

One person was killed when police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protesters demanding a recount in the southeastern town of Mangochi.

A teenager was "killed by a teargas canister, which exploded in his hands as he was trying to throw it back at us," Mangochi police officer Elijah Kachikuwo told AFP.

The election imbroglio is unlikely to help Malawi's dire economic problems.

After taking office Banda oversaw the devaluation of the kwacha currency by 50%, the easing of foreign exchange restrictions, along with the raising of fuel prices and cutting of subsidies.

That helped restore an IMF credit line, but the country remains overly dependent on agriculture and foreign aid to survive.

Mutharika has said he will not pursue trickle-down economics, but will implement "bottom-up economics aimed at getting the poor out of poverty into prosperity".

Some 7.5 million people were eligible to choose a president, lawmakers and local government councillors in the fifth democratic polls since the end of decades of one-party rule in 1994.


Read more on:    joyce banda  |  peter mutharika  |  malawi  |  southern africa
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.