We are less than two weeks away from Malawi’s first tripartite elections, which are to be held on 20 May 2014. Registered voters (here’s how to verify by SMS) will cast their ballots for councillors, parliamentarians and president.
For the first time, Malawi witnessed three presidential debates, chaired by the the Malawi chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, and two presidential running mate debates, organised by Zodiak Broadcasting.
At the second presidential debate, held in Lilongwe on 29 April 2014, presidential candidates were asked how they will make sure that mining and the extractive industries benefit all Malawians.
Joyce Banda, Malawi’s current president and presidential candidate for the People’s Party, was conspicuous by her absence at all three presidential debates. The People’s Party was only represented by Sosten Gwengwe at the first presidential running mate debate held in Lilongwe in March (watch online).
At the second debate, the other 11 parties fielding presidential candidates participated:
- Chipani Cha Pfuko (Davies Katsonga)
- Democratic Progressive Party (Peter Mutharika)
- Malawi Congress Party (Lazarus Chakwera)
- Malawi Forum for Unity and Development, part of 6-party coalition Tisintha Alliance (George Nnensa)
- National Salvation Front (James Nyondo)
- New Labour Party (Friday Jumbe)
- People’s Progressive Movement (Mark Katsonga-Phiri)
- People’s Transformation Party (Kamuzu Chibambo)
- Umodzi Party (John Chisi)
- United Democratic Front (Atupele Muluzi)
- United Independence Party (Abusa Helen Singh)
The debates were broadcast on television, the radio and the internet. The presidential debates can be downloaded here (audio only). Organisers have been commended for the debates which signal “a positive turn in in Malawi’s political campaigns”.
The Nation covered this debate live on Twitter with a team including Edge Kanyongolo, Stanley Onjezani Kenani and Collins Magalasi, see image below (click on image to enlarge). Malawi Voice also highlighted key statements made by presidential aspirants on the mining sector, see the article “Presidential Candidates for Mining Revamps“.
To listen to this section of the debate, download the following two podcasts from Zodiak Broadcasting, “NAMISA Presidential Debate Round 2 Part 2” (from 12:58 until the end) and “NAMISA Presidential Debate Round 2 Part 3” (from the beginning until 15:30). Alternatively, Malawi The Warm Heart of Africa has conveniently split up the debate by topic for easy listening. Listen here for responses on migodi [mines].
In the third and final presidential debate, held in Blantyre on 6 May 2014, candidates were asked about their position on taxation. Tax breaks given to foreign companies, including mining companies, investing in Malawi were discussed. See here for The Nation‘s live coverage. The audio is yet to be uploaded online.
Take a look at the Malawi Electoral Information Centre’s Twitter feed to keep abreast of events on election day.