Today, millions of Malawians will head to the polls to democratically elect a president.
These elections are also significant because this is the first time in Malawi’s history that the country is holding presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on the same day. The last local government elections were held 14 years ago.
Though there are many parties contending for the presidential bid, the general consensus is that there are four serious players vying for the most powerful position in Malawian government. They are preacher-turned-politician Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Atupele Muluzi representing the United Democratic Front (UDF), Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the incumbent Joyce Banda representing the People’s Party (PP).
The country held its’ first multi-party elections in 1993.
The campaigning has been long and arduous. Tensions have been high as the various media outlets have fueled the debate over continuing accusations and cover ups regarding what has become known internationally as, “Cashgate”. This ongoing conundrum has baffled both international government aid programs, boondoggled current government operations, and impassioned Malawians to head to the polls.
The current president, Joyce Banda, was in my district of Nsanje campaigning for reelection Friday.
Planes were spotted Monday flying over Nsanje, reportedly dropping large crates containing election ballets to the small village schools where voting will take place.
Monday in Lilongwe in Area 2 and Area 3, minor riots were reported. Citizens suspected that ballots were being transported in an unofficial vehicle. Rumors from a close, unofficial source say that the ballots were suspected of being pre-marked. The ballots were burned in the street. Police reportedly used pepper spray in an attempt to assange the crowds.
The district elections coordinator for Lilongwe has resigned. Hundreds of local and international observers are monitoring the vote.
Everything was calm as of Monday evening.
I pray that today is peaceful as Malawians fulfill their civic duty to elect a new president and other political leaders.
Today, I will be staying at home and monitoring the news. I plan on doing maintenance to my bicycle, drying moringa tree leaves to make powder, reading a book, doing laundry and finishing plastering my bathroom.