Delegates to Malawiâ€™s ruling Peoples Party (PP) primaries nearly caused havoc on Wednesday, booing and rejecting insinuations that the national executive committee (NEC) of the party would confirm names of those elected to the Central Region Provincial Committee.
Deputy secretary general and elections leader Harry Mkandawire announced that Edith Mtunga, former director of elections, had defeated the partyâ€™s founding director of women Catherine Banda for the post.
Banda is seen to be close to President Joyce Banda and Vice-President Khumbo Kachali. However, before the vote, Mtungaâ€™s form could not be found, and it was rumoured that a call from the high offices asked her to run for the post of deputy. She filled the form.
â€œBefore I announce, let me say the names will be confirmed by the national executive committee,â€ said Mkandawire, attracting loud jeers and rejections from the delegates before he said: â€œThe idea is positions should be spread.â€
Master of ceremonies John Chikalimba later announced the election of Mtunga, which was later confirmed by Mkandawire, saying the elections results were final.
Kizito Ngwembe, founding provincial chairperson for the party, sailed through unopposed but he had, alongside Banda and director of youth Frankson Binuli, apologised for â€œany shortfalls during our reign.â€
But Bandaâ€™s apology fell on deaf ears as she scooped 56 votes to become first deputy director. Mtunga won with 90 votes. The post of second deputy regional director of women went to Rhoda Mtupanyama with 54 votes. Former DPP national governing council member Alice Lungu returned to regional politics with 37 votes to become the third deputy regional womenâ€™s director.
Former UDF director of youth Ernwell Kadango only got 25 votes but Binuli retained the seat with 69 votes. His deputy, Chifuniro Sinube, got 67 votes and Kondwani Ngâ€™ongâ€™ola is the second deputy.
The position of first deputy chairperson for the province was retained by John Chagunda with 180 votes and he will be deputised by former DPP deputy governor David Kambalame who got 60 votes as second vice-chairperson while former UDF regional governor Samson Mazengera, who got 12 votes, is third deputy chairperson.
The mood at the jam-packed venue, National Resources College Hall, was electric and as early as 8am, groups of various candidates that included former DPP and UDF heavyweights in the Central Region were outdoing each other in drumming support for their candidates.