Governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Greselder Jeffrey yesterday gave contradictory statements over unresolved issues on the party’s primary elections.
Speaking at Katoto Secondary School Hall in Mzuzu when the party gave out nomination papers to Northern Region aspirants, Jeffrey said the disputes were yet to be resolved and that she would strategise on how to resolve them.
But she later changed tune, saying those who had problems with the primary elections had accepted the status quo and will support those who were declared winners.
The sentiments also contradicted what the party’s vice-president for the South Kondwani Nakhumwa told our sister newspaper Nation on Sunday in yesterday’s edition that a committee appointed by DPP to oversee primaries was due to meet yesterday; hence, it would be known after the meeting whether there are any constituencies with unresolved disputes.
The party had problems in its stronghold Southern Region, with constituencies such as Mulanje North, Nsanje Lalanje, Thyolo South West, Chiradzulu East and Blantyre City West reporting irregularities.
The DPP is on record as having assured contestants who lodged complaints and admitted some of these challenges were a result of corruption involving presiding officers and the imposition of candidates by some party officials.
But yesterday in Mzuzu, Jeffrey told the Northern Region aspirants she would find ways of handling losing candidates.
She said: “I will talk to [DPP] vice-president [for the North] Goodall Gondwe and treasurer general Jappie Mhango so that we sit down and see how best we can bring on board those who felt aggrieved during primaries. Government has many things, maybe it will see hwo best to help them.”
But asked further on what the party would do, Jeffrey changed tune, saying she was not aware of any unresolved disputes in the party’s primary elections.
She said those who felt aggrieved during the primaries already approached her to pledge support for the winning candidates and President Peter Mutharika, who is also DPP torchbearer in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
She said: “Tell me, who has not been satisfied with primary elections? Because what I know is that when you lose an election, then you accept that you have lost! But again, the good thing is that those people who lost already came to me and pledged to work with Mutharika and the DPP. I don’t see anyone right now who is aggrieved.”
Early January, some disgruntled Blantyre City West DPP members marched to the party’s Southern Region office to present a petition, disputing results of primaries in their area where presiding officers had declared incumbent legislator Tarsizius Gowelo the winner over aspirant Bertha Masiku.
The group presented a petition to Nankhumwa, Jeffrey and Southern Region governor Charles Mchacha.
In Chiradzulu East, where incumbent Henry Mussa was declared winner, his challenger Joseph Nomale also disputed the result and demanded justice from the party.
Nomale later said he had written the party to declare him winner, adding: “I do not think we need a re-run in my constituency. If the rules of the game are to be followed, my issue was simple and straightforward.”
According to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), all aspiring candidates who will contest on political party tickets are collecting their nomination papers through their party general secretaries or any officer designated to do so.
On the other hand, all independent candidates for parliamentary and local government elections are collecting nomination papers from their respective constituency returning officers (CROs), district commissioners or chief executives from January 2 to February 8 2019. Submission of nomination papers will be from February 4 to 8 February 2019. Parliamentary and local government elections candidates will submit their nomination papers to their respective CROs while presidential candidates will submit their nomination papers to MEC at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.