Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential nominee Lazarus Chakwera will on Monday lead the hopefuls in presenting nomination papers at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
The leader of opposition in Parliament, who is one of the 23 presidential aspirants who collected the papers from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), is scheduled to present his documents at 9am, according to a MEC public notice issued yesterday.
Chakwera was also the first presidential aspirant to unveil his running-mate Sidik Mia, who is also MCP vice-president, on December 2, 2018 during a rally held in Monkey Bay, Mangochi.
The MCP leader will be followed by Umodzi Party’s (UP) John Chisi at 11am while independent candidate Florence Fulayi and Tikonze People’s Movement leader Cassim Chilumpha will each present theirs in the afternoon.
The number of presidential aspirants who have collected nomination forms has risen to a record 23 after three more–former vice-president Khumbo Kachali, who now leads Freedom Party (FP), Chris Bulachano of little known Democratic Federal Alliance (DFA) and an independent Damiano Ganiza–also collected their papers during the week.
Ganiza made news prior to the 2014 Tripartite Elections when he cycled all the way from Zomba to MEC offices in Blantyre to collect his nomination form but later withdrew his candidature.
On Tuesday, it will be the turn of Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development and Enock Chihana of Alliance for Democracy (Aford) in the morning while Rhodrick Makhambera (independent), Joyce Banda (Peoples Party) and Bulachano will present in the afternoon in that order.
Vice-President and leader of UTM Party Saulos Chilima will be the first to submit his forms on Wednesday to be followed Chris Daza of Democratic People’s Congress while the afternoon session will have Sally Kumwenda-Yadwad of Leadership with Compassion and man-of-the-moment Ras Chikomeni Chirwa who is standing as an independent.
According to MEC, Pastor Baxter Natulu (independent), United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi, Loudon Malingamoyo Phiri of National Salvation Front, Henry Mdebwe another independent and Kachali will line-up for the exercise on Thursday.
President Peter Mutharika will be the 22nd presidential aspirant to hand over his forms and also declare his interest for re-election at 2pm on Friday, an hour and a half before Ganiza officially closes the exercise.
In the morning, it will be the turn for Smart Swira, an independent, Chimbuna Belekiah of United Independence Party and the Reverend Hadwick Kaliya, also contesting as an independent.
But MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said in an interview yesterday that should another presidential hopeful collect the papers, the commission will revise its calendar to take them on board.
Aspirants started collecting nomination forms on January 3 and will continue up to February 8. n