By Taonga Sabola & Chimwemwe Mangazi:
Business almost came to a standstill Tuesday as Malawians voted in this year’s tripartite elections.
A visit to Blantyre Central Business District and Lilongwe’s Bwalo la Njobvu at around mid-day revealed that, though the polling day was not a public holiday, business was slow.
Though most shops and banks were open, fewer people were spotted engaged in business than on normal days.
It was, however, a closer to normal day for operators in the passenger service industry as they transported voters to and from poling centres.
Street vendors were seen loitering in the streets of the cities as usual, selling merchandise.
Chrispin Stuart, a Lilongwe-based vendor, compared Tuesday’s business to that of a public holiday.
“We are not selling as we do on a normal day. It is like a public holiday,” Stuart said.
It was, however, a normal day on the Malawi Stock Exchange as the market had recorded nine trades as at 12:30 pm Tuesday.
Two counters, those of TNM and Illovo, registered price gains with TNM shares inching up from K28.50 to K28.51 while Illovo shares gained K9.99 each to stand at K209.99.
Indigenous Businesses Association of Malawi President, Mike Mlombwa, said they hoped for the best after the elections.
“We are confident that Malawians will elect leaders who will promote the growth of businesses and foster economic stability.
“The good thing is that all the leaders have been preaching a message of a better Malawi and that is what all Malawians want. May the best candidate win,” Mlombwa said.
A total of seven candidates competed in Tuesday’s presidential elections in which analysts have predicted stiff competition among incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Vice President Saulos Chilima of UTM.