AFRICA/MALAWI - "The most uncertain elections in the last 20 years, but democracy is a fact accepted by all", says a missionary

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "In 20 years of democracy, these elections are the most uncertain in Malawi", says Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, a Monfortan missionary who has been working in Malawi for decades, where today, 20 May, presidential, parliamentary and administrative elections are being held.
"There are four major candidates that will divide 7 million votes of an electorate that has returned to being led by regionalism and from belonging to the ethnic group of birth", explains the missionary. The outgoing President, Joyce Banda, will have to face 11 other candidates.
Fr. Gamba also points out that "since the opposition has failed to coalesce, the result is the possible formation of a minority government, while on the election, the shadow of the so-called 'cashgate' (illegal use of the funds obtained from International donors, ed.) remains. All this is likely to encourage apathy and lack of motivation on behalf of the voters".
At least one category of voters has announced its intention to boycott the vote: we are talking about prisoners who refuse to vote because no party explained its program. "While prisoners have had the possibility of being registered in respect of the right to vote, not much has been done to raise awareness of their candidates to parliament or local governments", said Fr. Gamba.
The priest, however, concludes: "In this period of doubt and uncertainty, it is nice to see how democracy is now accepted as an expression of African politics. Democracy is a great achievement for a political system that is only 20 years old", says the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/05/2014)