BLANTYRE. — Malawi’s electoral commission appealed for “peace and calm” yesterday as it tallied ballots following a historic poll to re-elect a president after Peter Mutharika’s victory was overturned.
Voters in Malawi went to the polls on Tuesday for the second time in just over a year after the Constitutional Court dramatically ruled that last year’s polls were fraught with “grave and widespread” irregularities.
The chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Chifundo Kachale, said votes from 5 002 polling stations were being tallied yesterday.
“We appeal to Malawians to maintain peace and calm as the vote-counting continues,” he told a news conference in Blantyre.
President Peter Mutharika has accused the opposition of inciting violence following isolated incidents which the police and electoral commission said had not affected the election.
“It’s obvious that the opposition is doing this,” he told reporters after voting in Blantyre on Tuesday, claiming some of his party monitors were “chased away, some were beaten”.
“It’s obviously people that are afraid of the will of the people that are engaging in these barbaric acts,” he alleged.
But analysts suggest he may be preparing to challenge the outcome in case he loses.
“I think he is preparing the political, maybe the legal ground for losing,” Peter Fabricius of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies said.
Victory in the re-run will be determined by whoever garners more than 50 percent of the votes — a new threshold set by the top court.
The electoral commission has until July 3 to unveil the results, although the announcement is widely thought likely to come this week. Kachale said the commission would only announce results after dealing with all complaints.
As at midday yesterday, only three results from the country’s 28 districts had arrived at the national tally centre.
All results sheets are being transported physically under armed military escort. — AFP.