Malawi presidential election campaigns start without Covid-19 precautions
Rustenburg – Campaigns for Malawi's presidential election re-run took off at the weekend without observing coronavirus precautionary measures, particularly social distancing, local media reported on Monday.
According to a report in The Nation newspaper, hand-washing facilities such as water, soap and buckets were provided during the nine-political party Tonse Alliance rally in Mzuzu, but the majority of attendees did not use them.
The crowd also shunned physical distancing, one of the key measures to avoiding the spread of Covid-19.
Malawi has so far recorded 57 confirmed infections, three deaths and 24 recoveries from the virus.
News website, Malawi24 reported the country's fourth president, Joyce Banda, saying she had no desire to again compete for the office of the president.
Banda, 70, told the rally that it was time for the youth to take the offices of the president and vice president.
She also raised concern over rising political violence in the country as citizens prepare to take to the polls for the July 2 re-run.
The Nation reported that president of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Atupele Muluzi, was trying to woo Malawians to again vote for president Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) saying he was a tried and tested leader.
Muluzi is the son of former president Bakili Muluzi, who is Mutharika’s running mate.
The country's elections were held in May last year, but the outcomes of the presidential polls were contested at the constitutional court, with irregularities cited. The results were nullified by the court, and a re-run ordered to take place within 150 days.
Muluzi told voters in Lilongwe that Mutharika was the person Malawi needed in order for the country to develop.
"If you want your car to live longer, you don’t give it to a learner (driver) or else he will smash it. On July 2, we should not make that mistake of giving learners the leadership of this country.
"Let us give Mutharika the votes that he deserves. I respect him a lot," the newspaper quoted Muluzi saying.
African News Agency (ANA)