The first day of submissions of nomination papers for the July 2 fresh presidential election saw two candidates getting a seal of approval and one rejected for failing to fulfil requirements.
During the ceremony held at Soche International Conference Centre at Sunbird Mount Soche with coronavirus (Covid-19) precautionary measures of social distancing and hand washing in full force, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) provisionary accepted nomination papers from Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera who is leading a nine-party Tonse Alliance.
Mbakuwaku Movement for Development president Peter Kuwani also had his nomination papers accepted, but independent candidate Ras David Chikomeni Chirwa was turned back for failing to secure the required 10 signatures of registered voters in each of the country ’s 28 districts. Chikomeni had also not deposited the K2 million fees.
During submission of nomination papers last year, Chikomeni, who again picked his mother as running mate, was also rejected for the same reasons.
On the other hand, another listed independent candidate Revelend Kaliya withdrew his candidature, saying he will support the ticket of Chakwera who has picked the country’s estranged Vice-President and UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima as running mate.
The first session of presentation of nomination papers by Chakwera delayed by about 90 minutes as the hall’s capacity exceeded the 100 as per Covid-19 precautionary measures.
W h i l e C h a k w e r a and Chilima walked in at about 8.55am, MEC commissioners said they would only step in to preside over the function after the seating capacity was complied with.
Apparently, the situation arose as there were no checks of identity cards issued by MEC at entry points; hence, people freely walked in and out.
When they were done and dusted, the Chakwera- Chilima pair left Sunbird Mount Soche in an open pick-up vehicle branded in their parties’ colours, waving at hundreds of people who swarmed the hotel’s car park and roadside pavements.
Traffic was brought to a standstill as the pair and their partners headed for a parade around Blantyre townships in a convoy estimated to have at least 200 vehicles. their partners headed for a parade
The procession went to Bangwe, Ndirande and Limbe, among other places where social distancing was thrown to fate as people scrambled to see the pair.
On his part, Kuwani, who has again picked Archibald Kawalang’oma as his running mate, said his party plans to develop Malawi.
He said if voted into office, he will prioritise motorcycle taxis commonly referred to as kabaza since they require support from government to boost and protect their businesses.
Kuwani and his running mate used motorcycles as their mode of transport to the nomination venue.
In an inter view on his eminent failure to make it to the presidential ballot, Chikomeni insisted that he will still contest in the fresh presidential election.
He said: “No matter what it takes, I am still going to contest. I will make sure that my name is also included on the ballot papers because this MEC is incompetent.”
Today, MEC is expected to receive nomination papers from President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party and three independent candidates Phunziro Mvula, Khwechani Wesuze Nkhoma and Smart Swira.