Road to 2025: Ten Dubious MCP Tactics to Rig Malawi General Elections

President Chakwera

As Malawians look forward to the 2025 general elections, there are reports that the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is conspiring to rig the elections. The adverse effect of a rigged election is that deserving leaders are sidelined while incompetent and clueless ones are put in power.

It is against this background that this episode endeavors to expose 10 alleged MCP tactics in an attempt to rig the 2025 general elections.

1. Registration of Under-aged Children for National IDs in MCP Stronghold Areas

The Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) announcement that no Malawian will be allowed to vote without a national ID has created unexpected pandemonium in the political fraternity.

From an audio clip that has recently hit social media platforms, the National Registration Bureau (NRB) staff deployed in MCP stronghold areas, especially Lilongwe, have been intimidated by MCP youth league mercenaries to force them to register under-aged citizens.

2. Provision of Faulty Equipment in Processing National IDs in DPP Stronghold Areas

In an attempt to register more MCP supporters for elections, high-quality electronic gadgets have been deployed in the MCP stronghold region while faulty equipment is provided in the southern and eastern regions, the DPP stronghold.

If no Malawian will be allowed to vote without a valid national ID, many DPP supporters, who will not have national IDs due to faulty registration equipment, will be disenfranchised, giving an advantage to MCP supporters who possess the required document.

3. Strategic Transfer of DCs

It is a tradition now that District Commissioners (DCs) become returning officers who ultimately manage general elections at the district level.

No wonder that the Chakwera government, some weeks ago, massively transferred DCs to various duty stations in readiness for the well-planned act.

4. Recruitment of MCP Stalwarts in Key MEC Positions

It must be stated emphatically that any bona fide Malawian citizen is constitutionally entitled to equal opportunities regardless of gender, religion, or political affiliation.

However, some public positions require that the holder has the public trust to discharge their duties impartially without fear or favor.

The development that many MEC positions, including the Chief Executive Officer and Director of ICT services, have been filled with MCP diehards is very concerning.

5. Persecution of Whistleblowers and Journalists Who Expose MCP Clandestine and Diabolical Motives

Truth must be told that I have been privileged to witness the regimes of Hastings Banda, Bakili Muluzi, Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika, and Lazarus Chakwera. So I write from experience and not from experiment.

If Kamuzu Banda, under a one-party system, eventually failed to gag whistleblowers and journalists, it is ironic how the Chakwera government can achieve such an archaic and undemocratic undertaking in a multiparty dispensation.

The unceremonious arrest of whistleblowers, journalists, or human rights activists such as Gregory Gondwe, Macmillan Mhone, Bon Kalindo, Edward Kambanje, and many others is uncalled for in this multiparty era.

Spending taxpayers’ money hunting down Bakili Muluzi online TV presenters for exposing MCP clandestine activities is an abuse of power and undermines the democratic values for which many Malawians lost their lives and relatives while fighting against the then MCP tyranny.

6. Inciting Political Violence

When Aford party supporters were attacked, beaten, and their smartphones brutally smashed by MCP thugs, Malawians expected President Chakwera, as the party president and the State President, to vehemently condemn such primitive acts.

Furthermore, as the Commander of Armed Forces, President Chakwera should have assured Malawians of their safety by ensuring that the perpetrators of political violence face the long arm of the law. Disappointingly, no one has been apprehended for such violations of constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

Even former President Peter Mutharika, at Njamba Freedom Park, requested President Chakwera to ensure that the political terrain is free from political violence by allowing any party to conduct political campaigns anywhere in Malawi. In fact, voter intimidation in the form of political violence has been used by many politicians in history to rig elections. This is not a new phenomenon.

7. Enforcement of Appeasement Policy While Disregarding Meritocracy

It is very unfortunate that President Chakwera’s appeasement policy has become a catalyst for mediocrity, nepotism, corruption, tribalism, regionalism, and favoritism. The resultant effect of these vices is that political leaders are voted into power not based on their ideologies and competence.

Ironically, beneficiaries of the aforementioned vices unanimously concur that President Chakwera has indeed dismally failed to manage Malawi’s ailing economy, but they stand their ground that they will cast votes for him so they can continue benefiting from the same. This is totally retrogressive as far as national progress is concerned.

8. Tactics to Misinform and Confuse Voters to Score Political Points

Rigging elections is not just a single event but a coordinated process. Elections are rigged before, during, and after the day of actual voting. Misinforming and confusing a gullible voter for an extended period of time has proven to be an effective and viable tactic to rig elections.

Much as unforeseen circumstances have affected every country in the world, President Chakwera is not ashamed of misinforming voters that he has failed to manage Malawi’s ailing economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyclone Freddy, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the previous DPP regime.

There are incidents in which the Chakwera regime has also claimed authorship of some infrastructural developments initiated and partly completed by the DPP regime. This is aimed at giving the electorate the impression that the MCP administration is development-conscious.

In its attempt to weaken the main opposition party, DPP, MCP, through the National Assembly Speaker, Catherine Gotani Hara, singlehandedly chose Kondwani Nankhumwa as the Leader of the Opposition in parliament.

This MCP conspiratorial action created political pandemonium and turbulence in the once mighty party, DPP. It is not surprising that Kondwani Nankhumwa formed a new party, PDP, after being excommunicated from DPP.

A combinatorial analysis surmises that Kondwani Nankhumwa’s party PDP is similar in nomenclature to DPP and it will just confuse an illiterate voter, thereby giving MCP a political advantage. It is interesting to note that both DPP and PDP enjoy their stronghold status in the Lhomwe belt.

9. Distribution of Money and Basic Commodities to Desperate Voters During Political Campaigns

There are always ululations and jubilations by MCP supporters over both parliamentary and councilor by-election victories. However, reliable sources confirm that these victories are not just accomplished on a silver platter.

The unfortunate truth is that MCP actually buys votes by splashing money and basic commodities such as soap and sugar.

For instance, in the recent by-election in Karonga, a good number of cows were promised to be slaughtered in the ward upon victory. Jubilations erupted again when this political promise was honored. It is expected that such dubious activities will be extrapolated to the 2025 general elections.

10. Promotion of Judges and Justices Who Are Perceived to be MCP Sympathizers

It is common knowledge that electoral disputes ultimately find their way into the hands of court judges and justices.

It is also a fact that most of the judges who ruled in favor of President Chakwera in the 2019 presidential race case have been accordingly appeased through promotions.

With rampant judge shopping in the judiciary, any electoral complaint lodged with the courts by opposition parties will most likely hit an impermeable rock.

In conclusion, we implore opposition parties and civil society organizations to be on the lookout for these alleged tactics of vote rigging. With concrete evidence, such diabolical activities must be formally reported to responsible authorities, including MEC. After all, Malawians are looking forward to free, fair, transparent, and credible 2025 general elections. May the best candidates win! Long live democracy!


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