Malawi president accuses donors of meddling in polls

Bingu wa Mutharika
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika on Friday accused Western donors of meddling in this month's elections in the southern African country.

"Donors are running the Malawi electoral commission. They have deployed
a large army of expatriates at the commission. Actually they are
interfering in the internal affairs of Malawi," Mutharika said at a
presidential prayer breakfast in Blantyre.

"It’s not right. This is outside the terms of diplomatic principals," Mutharika said.

He did not accuse any specific country, but former colonial power
Britain and the UN Development Programme are partly bankrolling the
elections, which will cost 50 million US dollars.

The government is meeting the rest of the cost.

Malawi does not want to "jeopardise peace and stability because some
donors want some people to win …Let us think carefully," he said.

Donor money is an important lifeline to impoverished Malawi, accounting for 80 percent of the country’s development budget.

Malawi holds on May 19 its fourth multi-party elections since the dictatorship of the late Kamuzu Banda ended 15 years ago.

Mutharika will square off with the main opposition leader John Tembo
and five other aspirants, including Malawi’s first woman presidential
candidate, Loveness Gondwe.

Tembo now heads the Malawi Congress Party, once the tool of Banda’s dictatorship.

Tembo has inked an electoral alliance with the former ruling United
Democratic Front, which is chaired by ex-president Bakili Muluzi — who
toppled Banda at the ballot box in 1994.

Muluzi was axed from the contest by the electoral commission, saying he
had already served his two terms in office from 1994 to 2004.

Some 5.8 million voters have registered for the elections.

Nyasa Times

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