Youth cadets from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday turned violent and bayed for the blood of Mzuzu City legislator Leonard Njikho (DPP) and Msongwe Ward councillor Judith Chiume (DPP).
The member of Parliament (MP) and the councillor are suspected of manipulating the downfall of DPP candidate Yona Mkandawire who got three votes against 13 for Mchengautuwa Ward councillor William Mkandawire of People’s Party (PP) who retained the mayoral seat.
DPP has four councillors in Mzuzu City Council and five votes including Njikho’s.
However, it turned out that the DPP candidate got three votes.
Chiume, who was forced to withdraw her candidature for the position of mayor by the DPP hierarchy, said the cadets suspected that Njikho and herself voted for the PP candidate, hence their violent conduct towards them.
Immediately after it was announced that William Mkandawire had been re-elected, the mood outside the Grand Palace Hotel turned tense.
While over a hundred PP and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) sympathisers cheered for their triumph, DPP cadets, on the other hand, started jeering Njikho and Chiume.
Through songs, the cadets accused Njikho and Chiume of sabotaging the party in the election, and wanted to “teach them a lesson”.
After the elections, Njikho and Chiume remained in the election room with four police officers.
Later, Njikho told The Nation that he had heard of the plot by cadets to beat them up and decided to seek protection from the police.
A few minutes later, a police vehicle whisked Njikho and Chiume out of the place, and when cadets noticed this, they chased the vehicle, but it was too fast for them.
In an interview, Njikho said he had advised the party on the candidate who would win, but the party’s hierarchy in the North disregarded his advice.
He said: “The party did not take my advice. Even the candidate we featured actually told them that he could not win. I am the one who stay with the people, but they did not listen. So, we have lost and they want to kill me?
“As a party member I offered advice, they did not take it. But it is very unfortunate, I never expected this to happen. At the moment, I am still in shock, and will decide later on what to do.”
Chiume also confirmed seeking refuge at police, saying the cadets suspected that they were behind the fall of their DPP candidate in the mayoral elections.
DPP regional governor for the North, Kenneth Sanga, said he had left the election venue early, and he was, therefore, not aware of the fracas.
The party’s campaign director Jappie Mhango who is also Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure, also said he needed time to get to the bottom of the matter.
“I had left the place early and I am not aware of the violence you are talking about. I will have to talk to the rank and file within the party first before I comment on the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, director of Church and Society of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Moses Mkandawire, has condemned the conduct of DPP cadets, warning it spells doom for the 2019 polls if not checked.
“This is very unfortunate, very sad indeed. We have seen in United States of America where some Republicans said they couldn’t vote for Donald Trump, but they were not beaten up, that’s democracy. Look here, councillors made their choice and democracy won. I am afraid that if this continues, we may have violence in the 2019 polls,” feared Mkandawire. n