Malawi 2020 - a Beacon of Hope for African Opposition Parties

analysis

Opposition parties across sub-Saharan Africa should sit up and take notice. Malawi has set a blueprint for taking on dominant, repressive, corrupt, and authoritarian governing parties.

Malawi's election last week is momentous. In a region where opposition election victories are relatively rare, Lazarus Chakwera's election as Malawi's new president is a promising disruption to the status quo.

Last Tuesday, Malawians headed to the polls for the second time in just over a year after the country's Constitutional Court invalidated the first election, held May 2019. Their ruling followed numerous irregularities in the original poll, most notably the use of correction fluid (Tippex) to change vote totals on counting sheets.

Withstanding considerable pressure in the form of intimidation and alleged financial inducements, judicial independence held firm and a date was set for an election re-run. On Saturday, the official results were declared. Opposition candidate Chakwera comprehensively defeated incumbent President Peter Mutharika, obtaining 58.57% to Mutharika's 39.40%. On Sunday, Chakwera was formally sworn in as the country's new president.

The primary factor behind the opposition's stunning victory was unity. It started with the Malawian people who demonstrated the power of citizen solidarity when they took to the streets of Lilongwe in 2019...

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