Malawi has passed a law that will ban politicians using cash payments and other incentives to buy support ahead of key polls due in May 2019. The Political Parties Act, which came into force on Saturday, will see candidates convicted of improperly swaying the electorate face fines of up to 10-million kwacha ($13,600) or five years in prison. Campaign materials including posters, leaflets and clothing will be exempt from the new law. Malawi goes to the polls in presidential, parliamentary and council elections on May 21 2019 and candidates at every level have typically used cash payments and gifts to secure support in advance of past votes. University of Malawi political scientist Henry Chingaipe said the new law will help clean up politics. 'Patrimonial politics' “We have propagated a culture of patrimonial politics through handouts,” he said. “Instead of people voting out of conscience, you are essentially buying their vote.” Former president Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party said “we ha...

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