Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malawi 2009 General Election Results Summary


Presidential Election Results
Here's a summary of the presidential elections results, based on the schedule of results released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) at 12:228pm on Saturday, May 23rd 2009.

Candidate

Votes For

Share of Valid Votes

Bingu wa Mutharika (DPP)

2,946,103

65.98%

John Tembo (MCP)

1,370,044

30.69%

Kamuzu Chibambo (PETRA)

35,167

0.79%

Stanley Masauli (RP)

33,887

0.76%

Loveness Gondwe (NARC)

32,160

0.72%

James Nyondo (Independent)

27,328

0.61%

Dindi Gowa Nyasulu (Aford)

20,151

0.45%

Total valid votes:

4,464,840


Parliamentary Election Results

I have reconciled the results of the elections of May 19th as released by the Malawi Electoral Commission with those announced on the radio and circulating on the Internet. I did note a couple of errors on the list that has been doing the rounds on the net. For instance, one seat that was won by the MCP candidate in Dowa South East was allocated to a DPP candidate who actually came second. Another seat that was won by an independent candidate in Thyolo South was listed as having been won by the DPP candidate. In yet another case, two independent candidates were both listed as having won the same seat in Zomba Likangala. In Lilongwe Msozi North, the wrong person was listed as the victor yet the winner was a different person, albeit also an independent. Having made these corrections, here's the final parliamentary list:

Party

Seats Won

Share of Seats

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)

112

58.33%

Malawi Congress Party (MCP)

28

14.58%

United Democratic Front (UDF)

17

8.85%

Alliance for Democracy (Aford)

1

0.52%

Maravi Peoples Party (MPP)

1

0.52%

Malawi Forum for Unity and Dvt (MAFUNDE)

1

0.52%

Independents

32

16.68%

Total

192


* note that elections were not held in one constituency following the death of one of the contesting candidates.

While the DPP is short of the two thirds majority by 16 MPs, it is worth recalling that a high proportion of the candidates that were elected on an independent ticket were those that were frustrated in one way or another in the DPP primary elections. It is likely that a majority of the 32 independents will side with the DPP when parliament meets. Indeed, already, a number of the new independent MPs have rejoined the ruling DPP, further bolstering the ruling party's numbers before the new Parliament has even met. The opposition parties (MCP, UDF, Aford, MPP and MAFUNDE) between them have a combined total of 48 seats, translating into 25 percent of the seats in the new Parliament.


Parties that will receive Parliamentary Funding

As the numbers currently stand, only the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with 58.33% and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will be the only parties entitled to receive parliamentary funding on account of the fact that they have at least 10% of the seats in Parliament. For the first time since 1994, the UDF will not be eligible to receive Parliamentary funding.

More Women in the new Parliament

The campaign to increase the number of women legislators in the new Parliament appears to have had some success, albeit marginally. The 2009-2014 Parliament will have a total of 42 lady legislators (22%) - up by 15 from the last Parliament which had 27 lady MPs (14%). The new figure of 22 percent is still lower than the SADC gender protocol which called upon member states to have a minimum of 30% female legislators.

High Turnover of MPs

One characteristic feature of the May 19th elections has been a high turnover of legislators. The new Parliament retains only 53 of the original 193 legislators that sat in the House in the last Parliament. A whopping 139 of the 2009-2014 Parliamentarians (73%) are entering the National Assembly for the first time (138 if we exclude Khwauli Msiska, who was a member of the House in the 1999-2004 Parliament). The list of casualties applies across the board. The DPP is returning 26 MPs from the last Parliament, while both the MCP hand the UDF have returned 12 each. MPP's Uladi Mussa, and two independents - Cassim Chilumpha and Billy Kaunda are the other three returnees.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Congratulations to Justice Msosa the EC and all Malawians

Justice Anastasia Msosa has done it again! having overseen the successful 1994 elections, she has once again ably led the team that has handled these elections. There have been numerous challenges yes and there is always room for improvement. from talking to people in Malawi, it appears the electoral Commission has done a wonderful job, making these the best organised elections since 1994.
The calm way that the Malawian public conducted itself on polling day and the manner in which the results have been received also deserves our appreciation. We should not take this for granted - we know elsewhere on the continent, election results have sparked violence that in the worst cases, has resulted in multiple deaths. We deserve to pat ourselves on the back for maintaining peace throughout the process.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A new era of politics?

In my previous post, I was predicting a victory for incumbent president Bingu wa Mutharika. I must confess I did not expect the margin of victory that appears to be emerging from the election results as currently being announced. For all intents and purposes, Mutharika appears to be headed for a strong landslide performance. While Bingu is performing strongly in the northern region as predicted, he has also performed just as strongly in the central region and the southern region.
perhaps the biggest surprise is coming in Parliament. While a number of independents are outperforming some DPP candidates in a few areas, by and large, the strong performance of the DPP is being repeated in the Parliamentary race. Indeed, even among the independents that are winning, most are among those that were frustrated in the DPP primary race. In other words, these are essentially DPP candidates that are most likely to go back to their DPP home.
The people's verdict is in - some of us will be talking about what this bodes for the future of the country's democracy, about the future of the opposition, about voting trends in a country long used to regionalistic politics. All that should be put in the context of what the Malawi people want. They cannot be expected to vote for individuals who have failed them just for the sake of maintaining an opposition. they cannot be expected to vote for people from their region even if they are deemed failures. It is the dawn of a new politics.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Predicting the 2009 Malawi Elections

The elections are a mere three days away. The official campaign period ends on Sunday, May 17th at 06:00am.
Being so removed from the ground has meant that I have been unable to make any independent judgments and predictions on the entire process. It is the second election that I will be missing and this gives me a heavy heart. I can only hope that those that have the vote use it on Tuesday and decide on who should be entrusted with the power to exercise the role of President for the next five years and who should also be entrusted with making laws for the same period. There is just no excuse for not voting.
So who are the likely winners and losers from these elections? My predictions, I should stress, are based on second hand information, reinforced by the live radio coverage from Zodiak radio and Capital radio's daily news summaries - two of Malawi's best radio stations).
President: Bingu wa Mutharika faces a tough challenge from MCP's John Tembo, whose electoral fortunes have been boosted by his coalition with the UDF. An Afrobaromter survey conducted late last year gave Mutharika a commanding lead over both Tembo and Muluzi (standing as individual candidates). While the coalition gives MCP and UDF the chance to consolidate their vote, I am not convinced this gives them enough to overturn Mutharika's lead from last October's survey. Yes, a couple of decisions on the DPP side - including running mate selection, confrontational and sometimes ill-advised choice of language that disparages opponents and their supporters alike, might have eroded Mutharika's support among a section of the middle class. However, while this will make the presidential race a tighter race than the Afrobarometer survey data suggested, I still feel Mutharika will sneak in.
Verdict: Mutharika for President.
Parliament: The selection of candidates for the DPP in the primary elections left a lot to be desired. candidates were imposed, while some winners were discarded in favour of preferred names. While DPP is going to increase its numbers in the new Parliament from the six it had in the previous one, it might yet again fall short of a majority. I am also somewhat unsure of the impact of the UDF/MCP coalition on Parliament. Listening to the campaign coverage on Zodiak radio, I cannot help to think that voters are bound to be confused when you have John Tembo / Bakili Muluzi introducing candidates for both parties in the elections that will be competing against each other. This might have an impact on their performance in the elections.
Verdict: another split Parliament