Political disposition and election campaign 2018/19
The informal election campaign with regard to the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on May 21, 2019 began as early as the beginning of 2019. The main political parties had elected their candidates at party conferences. As expected, the ruling party DPP was led into the race by President Peter Mutharika. As in 2014, the most important opposition party, the MCP, again competed with Lazarus Chakwera. The PP initially set up former President Joyce Banda, who withdrew her candidacy at the last moment and supported Chakwera. The UDF went to the polls again with the young Atupele Muluzi. The personnel table was almost unchanged from that of 2014. However, the incumbent Vice President, Saulos Chilima, was an exception. He resigned from the ruling DPP party in June 2018 and founded the United Transformation Movement (UTM), which was officially registered in November 2018 after some legal wrangling. He ran as a presidential candidate for the UTM. He reported on his plans in a detailed interview with the BBC. He declined to resign from the office of Vice President. In contrast to ministers, the vice-president cannot be dismissed by the president. He could only have been removed from office through an elaborate impeachment process. However, this requires serious legal offenses that hardly existed.
According to ehealthfacts, electoral alliances between the more important political actors had not come about in the run-up to the elections. The coalition government of the DPP and UDF continued until the elections, but the UDF chairman, Atupele Muluzi, officially submitted his presidential candidacy in early February 2019. Cooperation in the elections had previously been discussed. The UTM was able to poach a number of dissatisfied politicians from all parties. An electoral alliance between UTM and PP failed at the last minute in early February 2019 when ex-President Joyce Banda tried to get her son Roy Kachale to run for the vice-presidency. The UTM boss and presidential candidate Saulos Chilima rejected this. Then Joyce Banda turned around and supported MCP boss Chakwera in the elections.
The Cash Gate scandal
Triggered by the assassination attempt on the budget director in the Ministry of Finance in mid-September 2013, the country’s biggest corruption scandal to date began, which was given the name Cash Gate. The sum of the apparently systematic misappropriation of state funds since 2006 is estimated at 50 to 300 million US dollars. Around 100 people have so far been arrested as part of the investigation, including Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara, who was released in October 2013. The government is asking for an education of the scandal is working hard to regain the trust of both the Malawian public and donors. In addition to taxpayers’ money, part of the foreign budget support was apparently embezzled. The first legal proceedings began on January 29, 2014. Even President Peter Mutharika announced the cash Scandal wholeheartedly enlighten wanting. On behalf of the Joyce Banda government, the international accounting firm BakerTilly carried out an account and voucher check for the period from mid-2012 to October 2013, which uncovered embezzlement of over K 13.6 billion. The first sentencing of a suspect to three years imprisonment took place in October 2014. The judicial processing is time-consuming and far from finished. In June 2015, one of the main suspects, entrepreneur Oswald Lutepo, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for embezzling K 4.2 billion. He had admitted the allegations. In late August 2016, former Justice Minister Kasambara was found guilty of conspiracy to murder the budget director and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Two accomplices received even longer sentences. An involvement of the former president Joyce Banda in the scandal has not yet been legally proven. The ex-president had a few months after their deselection Malawi mid-2014 left and had not returned since. She denies being involved in the scandal. However, at the end of July 2017, an arrest warrant was apparently issued against her in Malawi, which was apparently supposed to be carried out via Interpol. Meanwhile, Banda again promised her return. The former president returned the end of April 2018 actually to Malawi and returned their party officials from several hundred received. The arrest warrant was not carried out.
A newly developed residential area in Area 43 in Lilongwe has been given the name Cashgate by the public, as many luxury villas have been built there by the accused.
The Chakwera government is committed to fighting corruption. Against numerous politicians and officials of the ousted DPP government are initiated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation and levied accusations.