Prodigal son Sosten Gwengwe has emerged as the candidate for the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the Lilongwe Msozi North parliamentary by-election scheduled for May this year.
Gwengwe, who amassed 559 votes, swept aside four other contestants in a primary election the party held yesterday.
His closest challenger Labisoni Kathewera only managed 11 votes while Henry Dzoole-Mwale [not related to parliamentarian Vitus Dzoole-Mwale] and Helix Dzuwa got two votes each. Stanley Chimphonda came last with a single vote.
However, another unnamed contestant was disqualified for not registering in the May 2014 Tripartite Elections as he is said to have been in the United Kingdom (UK).
The parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of Highton Jiya in January this year. He was also an MCP member.
In 2014, Gwengwe was the running mate to the then incumbent president Joyce Banda.
Meanwhile, MCP has vowed to retain the constituency.
In an interview, the party’s spokesperson Eisenhower Mkaka said in Gwengwe, they have a candidate that “needs no introduction in the area”, adding that the other parties should be wary of their candidate.
“Basically, the outcome of the election and the primary election in itself is a reflection of a striving democratic system in the MCP; contrary to what others propagate. Gwengwe is, and has always been the man of the people and it showed today. Numbers don’t lie,” he said.
Mkaka added that to consolidate democratic values within, the party will welcome anyone wishing to serve it; just like it did with Gwengwe who once dumped it to join the DPP and later PP before “returning to his nest.”
“We are a mature party that doesn’t promote petty politicking. We don’t hold grudges against anyone and we will support the candidate the people have chosen.”
There was no immediate reaction from Gwengwe, of whom it has been said he had been “helping the party prior to the primary in the area despite losing the 2014 election”.