Banda looks set to lose presidency - World - News - The Independent

Banda looks set to lose presidency

BLACK Africa's longest serving head of state, President Hastings Banda of Malawi, appeared to be heading for defeat yesterday as early results put Bakili Muluzi, leader of the United Democratic Front, well ahead in the country's first free election since independence. But there was a worrying trend towards regional and ethnic voting, with the north central and southern regions backing their own candidates. Final results are expected this afternoon.

With about 20 per cent of the votes counted by midday yesterday, Mr Muluzi had captured 176,000 votes, compared to President Banda's 75,000. Dr Banda was pushed into third place by Chakufwa Chihana with 95,000. About 3.7 million people were eligible to vote, and they cast two ballots - one for president and one for the parliament.

In the battle for the 177 parliamentary seats, the UDF had captured 18, President Banda's Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 12 and 4 had been taken by the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) led by Mr Chihana.

But the pattern was strictly regional. The party leaders each represent the three main regions and voters were clearly backing their local representative. One UDF official was quoted as saying: 'It's not good at all that voting patterns show tribal lines. Whoever wins will have to heal these wounds - that's the only way forward for the nation.'

President Banda, now well into his nineties, has ruled Malawi like an absolute monarch since the country became independent in 1964. He is the oldest and longest-serving leader in black Africa and by far the most eccentric. Dressed in dark three-piece suit, Homburg hat and fly whisk, he banned long hair, Jehovah's Witnesses and trousers for women and drove around in the back of an open-topped Rolls Royce accompanied by hundreds of female praise-singers.

The ruling MCP is still strong in the President's central, mainly rural, region and there is a residue of respect for Mr Banda's age and status. Mr Mulusi, a former secretary-general of the MCP, comes from the south and only resigned when he was accused of embezzling party funds and it had become clear that multi-party democracy would be allowed. The UDF leadership consists mainly of former MCP apparatchiks who left the party after President Banda agreed to a referendum on multi-party democracy. Mr Chihana, on the other hand, was a former trade unionist who has a life-long record of opposition and was imprisoned for demanding multi-party democracy. He comes from the north, the region with a reputation for independence.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Teaching Assistants urgently r...

Primary Teacher

£85 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:We are looking for a ...

Primary Teacher

£85 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education is the UK ...

KS1 Teacher

£80 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 1 Teacher - Gloucest...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week