People’s Party (PP) might be slowly losing ground before the May 20 Tripartite Elections as frustrated First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jones Chingola and former deputy Transport minister Sam Ganda have ditched the party to contest as independents.
The political future of Henry Phoya, Leader of the House in Parliament, is also in limbo after he withdrew from the party’s primary elections rerun conducted on Sunday in Blantyre Rural East following controversies in last Wednesday’s initial poll.
Both Chingola and Ganda, incumbent members of Parliament (MPs) for Ntcheu Central and Nsanje Lalanje, respectivelyv confirmed their decisions on Sunday.
“Yes, I am standing as an independent. There was no fairness in handling of the primary election and the complaint I filed,” said Chingola. He collected nomination forms on Friday.
Ganda claimed his constituents are pressurising him to contest as an independent candidate.
“People are asking me to contest as an independent candidate. Chiefs wrote the party’s secretariat on this decision,” claimed Ganda who indicated he was collecting nomination forms on Monday.
Chingola lost to Chris Daza, Minister of Good Governance whereas Ganda lost to Lawrence Sitolo a newcomer in political circles. They are among many aspiring MPs who lodged complaints on the conduct of the party’s recent primary elections.
Phoya, who is Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development accused some ‘elements’ of wanting him to lose the primaries. Phoya won the initial primary elections.
But his challengers, Steve Mijiga and Sambalikagwa Mvona, complained of irregularities and the party decided to conduct a rerun yesterday in which Phoya refused to take part.
“There are some elements that are determined to see me lose the primaries.
Because of that, I decided not to contest,” said Phoya.
He explained that he won the primaries, but a ‘serious attempt’ was made to portray to the nation that he had lost.
When asked about his next move, Phoya could not say whether he intends to stand as an independent, saying the issue at hand is about primaries.
PP secretary general Paul Maulidi said Phoya voluntarily withdrew from the race.
“PP is a free party and he voluntarily withdrew. As for the reasons, ask him,” said Maulidi.
He expressed concern about Chingola and Ganda’s decisions to stand as independents.
“It is a concern, I must confess. It is a worrisome situation. We regret their actions.”
On how the party is dealing with complaints from other aspirants challenging the primaries’ results, Maulidi said: “We are looking at the complaints on case by case [basis] that is why we have not officially released the results.”
He, however, claimed that those standing as independents made the decisions before primary elections were conducted.
PP deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda described Chingola and Ganda’s decisions as unfortunate.
“Much as it is their freedom of choice, the decisions are regrettable. They are going to divide the party’s votes. You don’t leave the party because you have lost an election. We are pleading with those contemplating of taking similar routes to reconsider their decisions,” said Msonda who is also challenging the outcome of results in Rumphi East.