22 May 2019

Malawi Experiences 'Broadcasting Blackout' As Election Result Show Stronghold for DPP. MCP Held Firmly

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

Earliest results of Malawi's tripartite elections held Tuesday started trickling in dribs and drabs but were hampered by a connection problem on the part of some media houses who said they experienced a "fiber cable cut."

The over three-hour cut raised suspicion on social media with some alleging the development was government's deliberate move to frustrate independent media.

Only state-run radio Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio 1 was unfettered.

Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) radio was down in most of the southern and northern region before it returned on air in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Times TV also had intermittent broadcasting hurdles.

"The fiber link between Blantyre and Lilongwe has been cut. This has affected our Television transmission, we apologize for any inconvenience. We wait to be advised by Malawi Digital [Broadcasting Network Limited] on the restoration," announced Mibawa TV on its official Facebook page.

A source confided in Nyasa Times that the occurrence was as a result of Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) five cable cut in five places across the country.

According to the source, the areas that were cut included:

  • Between Mzuzu and Songwe Border
  • Between Blantyre and Zomba
  • Between Lilongwe and Salima
  • Between Blantyre and Lilongwe
  • Between Blantyre and Thyolo

"The situation has affected the functionality of some radio stations. This explains why they can't be on air right now," said a source.

However, when the broadcasting resumed it showed that regional strongholds for DPP and MCP held firmly but new party UTM seems to integrate in the Central Region with UDF losing ground in the East.

President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) continues to stamp authority in the southern region with the districts of Neno and Mulanje as example.

Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) continues to maintain his stint in the central region districts of Salima, Dowa and Dedza, among others.

UTM Party's Saulos Chilima appears to register generous votes in most urban polling centers including Blantyre and Lilongwe--a district which had the most registered voters.

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