Amid the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malawi has delivered a remarkable story of democratic progress. While the victory of the opposition candidate itself is certainly not remarkable – opposition candidates have won three of Malawi’s six competitive elections, Malawi has become only second to Ukraine in the world and first in Africa where the loser of a judicially invalidated election won the rerun.
Malawi’s success required all the pieces in the democratic maze to fit, and they did. An unflinching public, passionate civil society, independent courts, needed opposition coalition and democrat soldiers conspired to deliver a remarkable democratic story. While worth the celebrations and euphoria, peaceful alternation of power only signals the beginning of a tougher challenge – consolidating the gains and most of all building a democracy that improves the fortunes of Malawi’s millions – democracy that delivers.
The ANCL and International IDEA are delighted to organise a high-level Webinar to take stock of and amplify Malawi’s victory as Africa’s victory and most importantly to ponder ways of perfecting the democratic gains. In particular, Malawi has now to grapple with a new electoral system for the presidency – following the judicially sanctioned shift from a plurality to a two-round runoff system, which will have serious implications for patterns of regionalised/ethicised politics; political fragmentation; potential executive-legislative paralysis; and ensuring a stable coalition. The country may also have to engage in constitutional and/or legislative reforms to strengthen the gains, refine the electoral system, and insure against democratic backsliding.
Accordingly, the webinar will not dwell on the remarkable achievements – the judicial decision invalidating the elections and setting a new electoral system, and the subsequent opposition victory. There has been a deserved celebration and euphoria around this. Instead, the Webinar will be forward-looking to consider ideas on the lessons from Malawi to Africa (and the world) and from Africa (and the world) to Malawi in guaranteeing peaceful alternation of power and crucially sustaining it.
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/ktlqnZd2k