Mutharika’s death: a blow to Zanu poll plans

The void left by the sudden death of Malawi President Binguwa Mutharika will be more acutely felt by Zanu (PF) which was banking on his support for the party’s push for early elections, a cabinet minister said this week.

Bingu wa Mutharika
Bingu wa Mutharika

One of the few remaining regional supporters of the increasingly isolated President Robert Mugabe, waMutharika died last Thursday after a heart attack. Mugabe was the best man at waMutharika’s marriage to his second wife, Callista Chimombo, a former Minister of Tourism, in 2010.

His death was greeted with indifference by many Malawians, who regarded him as an autocrat and the main architect of their problems – basic commodity and fuel shortages and rolling power blackouts.

Education Minister David Coltart said his sudden death narrowed the options available to Mugabe and Zanu (PF) to hoodwink fellow Southern African Development Community leaders into rubber-stamping early Zimbabwean elections this year. “Mutharika’s death is undoubtedly a blow to Zanu(PF) hardliners who were relying on him to back them in SADC re an early election,” Coltart tweeted this week.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC-T last month launched a report on what it sees as the minimum conditions required before the country could hold free and fair elections.

Entitled “Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe (CoSEZ)”, the report outlines the party’s expectations on conditions that should prevail in the country for a free and fair poll.

Tsvangirai said these conditions were simply issues agreed by himself and Mugabe under the 2008 power-sharing pact. They include a new democratic constitution, political, electoral, media and other key reforms “that are necessary to vaccinate the next election against the virus of 2008”.

The MDC wants security sector reforms which it says will professionalise the police, army and intelligence services.

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