Former minister of Energy in the former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s government, Grain Malunga, has dumped the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after being frustrated in the primary elections in his Chikhwawa North Constituency.
Malunga confirmed in an interview yesterday that he has decided to contest the May 20 parliamentary elections as an independent after the party failed to address the complaints he raised following botched primaries on January 19, 2014.
Said Malunga: “I have decided to contest as an independent, in fact, people are very angry at what happened on the primaries day. Yes, this means I have moved out of the party.”
In his letter to the party’s secretariat, Malunga complained that his competitor for the seat, former Malawi envoy to South Africa Agrina Mussa ferried people from Chiradzulu and Chikhwawa West to participate in the primaries after noting that she did not have enough delegates.
He contended that delegates were not happy with the way the returning officer, regional treasurer, Ngozi Harawa, was conducting the process.
“He disregarded the agreed procedures for roll call of chairperson and his delegates [area committees] at several occasions by selecting non-delegates such as those ferried in trucks from Chiradzulu and Chikhwawa West,” wrote Malunga.
Malunga claims that after noticing that all options would not work due to an alert crowd, Harawa called both contestants to announce that the election would not proceed and that he would report to the election committee for further direction.
“It is evident that there were a lot of irregularities even preceding the day of the primaries when the regional governor refused my officials to collect copies of the agreed areas and allowed the district governor to campaign for the shadow MP,” he says.
But Mussa wondered why Malunga wrote the letter to the party when he pulled out of the contest before the elections were conducted.
She also denied ferrying people from Chiradzulu, saying the trucks were coming from Chavala Village which is within the constituency.
Said Mussa: “You know because there is no bridge, the trucks from Chavala had to go through Blantyre and that is why he is talking about trucks passing through Thabwa Roadblock. But Chavala is within the same constituency,” she said.
Harawa in an interview yesterday said the primaries did not take place because Malunga pulled out of the contest following disagreements on areas to vote.
“So, he said he had pulled out of the contest because he could not proceed since he did not recognise the areas that were to vote. So, I had no choice, but to declare Madam Mussa the winner since the contest was between the two,” said Harawa.
DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi said he has not seen the letter of complaint from Malunga although he was quick to point out that as a party, they would strive to resolve differences arising from primary elections amicably.
Dausi confirmed that some contestants in Nsanje South West, Phalombe East and Thyolo West constituencies have obtained court injunctions stopping the party from endorsing the primary election results.