Organisational Chaos and Rioting as Voting in Malawi’s 2014 Elections Begins

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Chaos erupted as voting in Malawi begun at several polling stations across Blantyre and Lilongwe when ballot papers and other voting materials went missing while others were misplaced on Tuesday morning. As a result of the organizational chaos, polling centres did not open at the scheduled time as several unverified reports of election rigging surfaced and spread across Blantyre.
The incumbent, Dr Joyce Hilda Banda (née Mtila; born 12 April 1950) is in a tough 11 horse race to remain President of Malawi as the country registers a Golden Jubilee of 50 years of self-governance and Independence from its former colonial master, Britain. President Banda and her People’s Party government have been tainted with the Cashgate scandal leaving space for her main challengers, Lazarus Chakwera (MCP), Atupele Muluzi (UDF) and Arthur Peter Mutharika (DPP) to take over as President of the Warm Heart Republic for the next 5 years.
Joyce Banda came to power by virtue of her position as Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi after the sudden demise of President Professor Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012.
About 7 million were people expected to turn up to vote in the 2014 Tri Partite Malawi election on 20 May 2014. The president and the vice-president are elected on one ballot for a five-year term by the people. A simple plurality is required to win; there is no provision for a runoff election. In the parliamentary race, 193 seats are up for grabs and candidates will also contest 462 local council wards.
Earlier, amidst the chaos at several polling centers, Justice Maxon Mbendera who is the Chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commissions apologized to Malawians for the logistical hiccups which had frustrated voters.

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