21 May 2019

Malawi: EU Observer Mission Impressed With Progress of Malawi Election

Photo: Roy Nkosi/ Mana
Voting in progress at Goliati in Thyolo where President Peter Mutharika will cast his vote.

The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission to Malawi has expressed preliminary satisfaction on Malawi's tripartite elections which began Tuesday morning across morning.

Poche at polling centres in Blantyre in the morning Poche at polling centres in Blantyre in the morning

Malawians are for the second time since 1994--since the birth of the country's democracy--are voting for ward councilors, Members of Parliament (MPs) and a President.

The official 12-hour period opened at 6:00 in the morning, and was expected to close at 6:00 in the evening.

According to the EU observation mission, they were "satisfied" with the progress so far after touring some polling centers across the country.

"The long queues we have seen around are impressive. They show the willingness of the people to cast their votes," said Miroslav Poche, the Mission's chief observer.

Poche said they were on the ground monitoring the election, and would provide a report later.

Earlier, state vice president and UTM Party presidential hopeful in the election, Saulos Chilima, cast his vote after a 40 minute delay after his name could not be found on the voters' roll.

"But, after liaising with our authorities, he [Chilima] voted. The thing is that his name had been transferred to Chizumulu [Island district] despite the fact that he had registered here [at St Thomas Primary School]," said Balekile Sibande, the Presiding Officer at the polling center in Area 18 of the capital Lilongwe.

Later, in a press briefing, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said the Commission was further investigating the person who was responsible for the transfer and was trying to establish the "motive behind."

"We know the person, and we will deal with the matter accordingly," said Ansah.

Chilima has run a colourful and energetic youth-targeted campaign on a platform of eradicating poverty, fighting graft and creating employment. But it is uncertain if his new party can make a major impact.

His wife Mary made waves ahead of the election, releasing a slick and much-admired rap video extolling her husband's candidacy.

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