The ride to 2013 parliamentary elections became bumpy for some Cabinet ministers and ruling People’s Party (PP) gurus on Sunday when they lost in the primaries in Eastern Region.
The casualties include publicity secretary Hophmally Makande, Labour Minister Grace Maseko, Deputy Minister of Health Chikumbutso Hiwa, PP deputy administrative secretary Joseph Chikwemba and, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jones Chingola
PP secretary general Paul Maulidi confirmed the fall of the gurus in an interview on Sunday.
“I can confirm that those [officials] have lost primaries. However, the results in Ntcheu West [belonging to Hiwa] and Zomba Central (of Chikwemba) are under dispute,” said Maulidi.
Chingola lost to Minister in the Office of President and Cabinet responsible for Good Governance Chris Daza, Maseko fell to former legislator John Chikalimba while Makande lost to Minister of Economic Planning and Development Ralph Jooma, according to Maulidi.
Political scientist Blessings Chinsinga described the loss of the bigwigs as a sign of transparency in conducting elections.
“Normally, you would expect party officials to easily win in primaries. But for them to lose it shows that there was transparency and real competition was at play,” said Chinsinga.
Chingola, however, rejected the results, saying there were many irregularities. He claimed that ballot papers were tampered with and that everyone, including vendors and pupils, voted.
“I am consulting about my next move, but I have written a complaint to the party,” said Chingola. Maseko and Makande could not be reached.
The primaries have seen the return to politics of former Education, Science and Technology minister Yusuf Mwawa who won in Balaka Central East.
Mwawa was convicted in 2005 and imprisoned for using government money to fund his wedding.
PP has already conducted primaries in the North where party deputy secretary general Frank Mwenifumbo and deputy spokesperson Ken Msonda were some of the high profile casualties.
Others are former Health minister Professor David Mphande and former Foreign Affairs minister Professor Etta Banda.