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Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP) (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP via Getty Images

An electoral official briefs Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on arrival to vote in the presidential elections at the Malembo polling station in his home village at the traditional Authority Khongoni in Lilongwe on June 23, 2020.

Malawians Head Back to Voting Polls in Historic Re-election

Malawians will be casting their votes yet again after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that the May elections of 2019 had been rigged.

Malawians are casting their votes today after the Constitutional Court annulled the results of the May, 2019 elections due to rigging, Aljazeera reports. Judges made the ruling based on evidence presented to them which included tally sheets which had been tampered with using correctional fluid. Malawi is the second African country after Kenya to ever annul a presidential election over irregularities.

READ: Malians Heading to Voting Polls Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

Current President Peter Mutharika, continues to seek a second term in office with his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). His biggest opposition is Lazarus Chakwera, leader of a coalition party that enjoys the support of nine political parties in Malawi. Last year, President Mutharika won 38.6 percent of the vote and was followed closely by Chakwera who secured 35 percent and former Vice President Saulos Chilima who managed to secure 20 percent. Following the election results, both Chakwera and Chilima led the charge with regards to the appeal process.

BBC reports that Mutharika has promised Malawians better economic development should they elect him into office saying, "If you give me another five-year term, this country will develop to the level of South Africa or Singapore, London, America or Canada."

Chakwera, on the other hand, is confident that the "50 plus one" system that requires presidential candidates to obtain more than 50 percent of the vote, will work in his favour.

Voters will be making their voices heard for a second time amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. One 34-year-old voter named Innocent Maguya says, "People really want to vote, whether we have coronavirus or not." Maguya adds, "We would rather risk the disease than run the risk of having a president that people don't want. We cannot stop this crucial vote because there are no face masks."

Currently, Malawi has a total of 803 coronavirus cases with at least 11 reported deaths, according to BBC's Coronavirus in Africa tracker.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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