Malawi's post 2019 elections scenario : any signs of hope for democracy consolidation amidst electoral violence?

18 Dec 2020

The paper examines the factors behind electoral violence in Malawi. The holding of regular free, fair and credible elections is a litmus test for determining whether an elected government is truly legitimate, credible and based on the will of the people. Elections are an indispensable element of democratic governance. However, the central argument in this is paper is that although regular elections is a major institutional pillar of liberal democracy, the quality of elections leaves a lot to be desired. This is in view of the cases of electoral violence which have characterised most elections including in Malawi. With the data gathered qualitatively, the study reveals that deficiency of democratic norms, inappropriate electoral systems and weak Electoral Management Bodies are the major triggers of post electoral violence in Malawi. The paper concludes that pragmatic polices which create a conducive environment for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections are required to sustain electoral democracy. Attention should be given to political-legal and socio economic institutions as well as efficient and effective management of the entire electoral process in order to provide a level political field among electoral contestants, minimise electoral violence and promote democracy consolidation.