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New Opinion Poll Results; Chakwera to carry the day


By Afriem’s correspondent

Executive Summary

As Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa hold elections for the presidency and Parliament, we at CD-Voter for Asianet News-II commissioned studies in all the countries concerned with a view of guiding strategic investment decisions for Asian interest groups. Our findings in general are interesting and detailed. For example while it is clear that Zuma and ANC will maintain at least 65% lead, Mozambique and Malawi cases are different.

Mozambique’s Frelimo, under Filipe Nyusi faces an upward battle against Renamo under the maverick and one time warlord Afonso Dhlakama who now controls Zambezia, Nampula and many other north Eastern provinces of Mozambique. The opinion surveys show that while Frelimo will win, it will suffer heavy losses to Afonso and the Mozambican Democratic Movement (MDM). Frelimo is likely to lose Nampula, Beira and Quelimane, three other key provincial capitals, to the opposition, and Mr Nyussi’s political control will be less than the 75% that Gebuza garnered previously.

For Malawi, the results are stunningly different from both Mozambique and South Africa because, while the incumbent President Joyce Banda went in as a savior to Malawi following the death of the one-time good and draconian leader Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda’s 2 years in power have been marred by extreme governance problems including massive theft of resources under her watch.

The results at hand appear to strongly suggest that she will pay a heavy price to what has ensued post 2012’s death of Dr Bingu. In sum, the results show that President Joyce Banda will finish third in the election with 21% of the vote placing her 18 percent points behind Lazarous Chakwera who wins the vote in the opinion poll. This update focuses in the Malawi elections.

The devil in Malawi’s elections unlike those in South Africa and Mozambique is in the detail. Malawi’s politics are dictated by factors that can very interesting, for example incumbency, voter roll position and mainly regional and tribalism are key. Education matters, but people’s tribes and identities almost account for over 50% of a politician’s chances to win a seat except where people of the same tribe are competing.

Indeed the evidence about regional voting in this survey is overwhelming and suggests that sectionalism of a regional and ethnically defined nature is still one of the most potent fault lines along which political cleavages are galvanized in Malawi. Of the 10,000 potential voters that were surveyed, about 44% were drawn from the Southern region, 42% from the central region and the remainder was drawn from the northern region. The sampling was stratified and random to account for several subtleties that are guided by practice and theory. For example while sampling in Nkhotakota, Salima and Ntcheu, the study was designed to account for muslim/yao and southern Ngoni population as well as the many Chewa and Tumbuka tribes in those places. In the southern region disaggregation was also achieved by deliberately accounting for the Lomwe, Nyanja, Sena, Yao and heavily muslim areas, while the Chewas of the south including areas governed by chief Lundu were included in the Southern sample. In the northern region, subtleties lie in Tonga and Tumbuka/Ngoni divide as well as Chitipa and Karonga segment owing to factors such as the incumbent’s second home ie Nkhatabay, MCP’s running mate home, Tumbuka/ngoni areas and DPPs past efforts on infrastructure in Chitipa and parts of the Mzuzu.

The stratified sampling scheme was important because without it, there is a danger of for instance concentrating questions to people of yao or chewa dominated areas of the centre, or yao /lomwe dominated areas of the south which could also lead to bias in estimates The report is detailed and covers 67 pages in single space but in a nutshell, the results that emerge for the major four parties are as  follows:

Total percent Total votes South Centre North South Centre North
All 100 7.5 3.3 3.2 1.0 3.3 3.19 1
LC 39 2.9 0.3 2.2 0.4 10.0 68.7 40.0
Peter 23 1.7 1.2 0.4 0.1 35.0 14.0 12.2
JB 21 1.6 0.8 0.4 0.4 22.9 13.0 40.0
UDF 16 1.2 1.0 0.1 0.1 29.1 2.7 7.0

Computations based on respondents answers to their favorite candidate.The figures are rounded to one decimal place.

The South is heavily contested by the three of the major candidates ie Peter (35%), Atupele (29%) and President Banda (23%). LC gets just 10% of the Southern vote which is way above what previous MCP used to get perhaps owing to the change in MCP. Atupele out performs the president because most of his supporters are Yao, a tribe which Joyce Banda comes from, but she loses out because she is not a muslim and perhaps because she is a woman. Peter easily emerges as the southern winner owing to the populous Lomwe tribe which is predominantly DPP whereas Chakwera gets a boost of 10% there.

At the centre, Chakwera beats JZUs record of 65% by just 3% points to accumulate 69% of the central vote which amounts to as much as 2.2 million votes. The 31% of the people who did not vote for Chakwera are those mainly from the very south of Ntcheu due to Southern proximity, the Yao parts of Salima and Nkhotakota perhaps due to their better option of JB and Atupele. The central region’s 31 percent hence is split between PP, DPP and UDF but it is Peter who gets about 14% of the centre followed by PP at 13%.

The northern Vote is split at such that UDF and DPP share 20% of the vote whereas MCP and PP share 80% at equal proportions. Interestingly the PP and MCP are somehow tribally associated with the northern region too. Since MCP VC is from Karonga and PP president is married in Nkhatabay.

The details show that the MCP government will have 41% of MPs implying that they must forge a working partnership with one or more of the parties to function properly. Some interesting results at MPs level indicate very interesting findings too, but this summary should suffice for now. As we go into May, we will release more results at the micro level to predict the fate of many MPs.


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