United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi on Wednesday electrified the hype for theMay 20 elections when his party literally painted Blantyre City yellow as he presented nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Atupele arrived at the Comesa Hall in a fleet of yellow Hummer vehicles mobbed by a sea of thousands of UDF supporters clad in the party’s yellow colour who virtually closed the Masauko Chipembere Highway stretch between the Polytechnic and Kamuzu Stadium Roundabout.
Atupele’s submission of the presidential nomination papers was followed by Aaron Davis Katsonga of Chipani cha Pfuko (CCP) whose supporters dressed in green T-shirts. Katsonga’s supporters, the smallest group so far, mobbed him as he made his way into the hall.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera, who is a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge, explained to the respective candidates that despite presenting them
with candidacy certificates, the commission shall proceed to scrutinise their papers and “we shall declare you duly nominated or otherwise seven days after the receipt of the last nomination papers.”
After the processes, Atupele said the May 20 elections signify a milestone for Malawi. He described the elections as a game changer.
“Malawians go to the polls with a lot of expectations. These elections are a game changer. Malawians should speak through the ballot,” said Atupele, attracting a chorus of whistling and ululating from his supporters.
“The United Democratic Front’s agenda for change is well aligned with what Malawians want. We are in a position to shape our position and this should be done now.”
Katsonga in an interview said it is a relief that his party submitted the nomination papers and looked forward to the elections.
Inside the hall, Katsonga expressed fears that there are plans to rig the elections. He reiterated his stand in an interview, saying: “We can’t take chances. Rigging does take place.”
Ironically, Katsonga’s brother, Mark Katsonga Phiri of People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) also presented his nomination papers on Tuesday. The duo’s father, the late Chester Katsonga, also had a political party, the Christian Liberation Party which contested and lost the country’s pre-independence general elections in 1961 to the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The official campaign for the May 20 election starts on March 21.