Malawi has passed a new law that bans politicians from dishing out cash handouts and other incentives during campaigns.
The Political Parties Act came into force on Saturday ahead of the country’s elections
scheduled for May 2019.
It stipulates that candidates found buying support will be convicted, and will face fines of up to $13 600 or five years in prison.
Campaign materials including posters, leaflets and clothing will be exempt from the new law.
Malawi’s presidential, parliamentary and council elections will he held on May 21.
Previous polls have been characterized by instances of politicians issuing cash handouts and other incentives to sway voters to vote for them.
“We have propagated a culture of patrimonial politics through handouts,” AFP quotes Henry Chingaipe, a political scientists from the University of Malawi.
“Instead of people voting out of conscience, you are essentially buying their vote.”
Chingaipe is confident the new law will help clean up the country’s politics.
The May election will see incumbent President Peter Mutharika square off with former head of state Joyce Banda.