What role does money play in elections in Southern African countries such as Malawi? Or maybe the question should be, to what extent does party fianncing affect the outcome of presidential and parliamentary elections?
Who finances our politicians before they are elected to office? Who finances our presidential candidates? What influence do those financiers wield on the country whose new presidents campaigns they funded? After the election? When the dust has settled? Have there been known cases or examples of financiers putting preconditions to Presidential candidates, before they are offered money? Preconditions which couldn’t possibly be in the concerned country’s national interests? Preconditions that sell the country and its resources away…
Further, in a country like Malawi, is there currently a constitutional requirement for funders of political parties to be publicly declared? Is there a barr on how much funders to can donate? Should there be such a bar?
I think these questions are important and must be carefully considered. There’s a body of research in this area, and below are some links to this effect.
However, to see why such questions are important, see this video here, of a case in the US. It’s titled “Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Amendment to Overturn Citizens United“. Essentially the Senator supports a constitutional amendment that would give Congress and US states the power to regulate campaign finance and control money pouring into the US political process. It is a big deal and the senator gives what I believe to be very good reasons why this is necessary.
I think Malawi can learn from that.
- Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns – Handbook series (International IDEA)
- Elections & Democratisation in Malawi:An Uncertain process – edited by Nixon Khembo (EISA Research REPORT, 2005)
- Money in Politics : A study of Party Financing Practices in 22 countries (National DEMOcratic Institute for for International Affairs)
- Regulations of political parties and party functions in Malawi: incentive structures and the selective application of the rules (Lars Svåsand, University of Bergen)
Regulating political party financing (International IDEA/ NIMD)