Malawi: Demos Speak Volumes About Malawi Broken System - Chinsinga

President Peter Mutharika (file photo).
11 August 2019

The recent post-election demonstrations have been described as a manifestation of a broken system which needs to be redressed for the country to retain trust of some Malawians who feel let down in the democratic project.

Unviersity of Malawi political professor Blessings Chinsinga

A multitude of Malawians have been marching on the streets in different parts of the country against what they call mismanagement of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), who have been organising the demonstrations countrywide, are calling for the resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah.

But Ansah has rejected the calls saying she will wait for the court's judgment on the matter to decide whether to quit.

Political scientist Blessings Chinsinga said Saturday that the demonstrations speak volumes about serious challenges the country is facing which need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

"As a political scientist, I have been particularly interested in the messages demonstrators have been displaying.

"It is very clear that beyond the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations, the demonstrators have a host of complaints that they would want to be addressed in the system," he said.

Chisinga was speaking in Salima during a training workshop on parliamentary coverage for editors and reporters organised by Parliament of Malawi with support from the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP).

He explained that since the advent of multiparty system of government in May, 1994, there have been serious challenges which need to be addressed so that those who feel left out do not completely lose trust.

Chinsinga said in the last 10 years, the country has gotten into some kind of a crossroad and that if nothing is done, urgently, it would be difficult to regain the lost trust.

"The point here is that people are not getting what they had expected when we made a transition to democracy in May, 1994.

"The reason is very simple; there have been more emphases on procedures and not necessarily the substantive benefits of democracy," he said.

Chinsinga cited poverty levels and widening gap between the rich and the poor as some of the issues which need urgent address. He said such issues have created disenchantment among people.

Meanwhile, commentators have called for a deep soul searching to bring sanity in the country as the protests have been characterised by violence, burning and looting of both private and public property.

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