Phalombe North former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Anna Kachikho has informed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) of her withdrawal from the December 15 2020 by-election race.
Kachikho’s son, Mphatso, disclosed in an interview yesterday that his mother has withdrawn from the race on health grounds.
“Her health is not ok and she cannot be going around to campaign. On top of this, she feels she has done her part and the term she was serving before the nullification of the result was the last,” Mphatso said.
MEC is conducting by-elections in Mangochi West, Mangochi North East and Phalombe North constituencies, which fell vacant after the court nullified their 2019 parliamentary election results following a challenge by some candidates. Kachikho was declared winner in the May 2019 parliamentary race.
Her withdrawal from the race means that the opposition DPP, which Phalombe is among the districts it enjoys massive support, will not have a candidate in the by-election as electoral laws do not allow substitution of candidates.
MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale in a national address on Friday on the launch of the by-elections said Kachikho and another candidate, Patrick Million, also for Phalombe North, informed the commission about the withdrawal of their nominations.
“In accordance with the law, their nomination fees have been forfeited. In formal communication, the returning officer for the constituency will inform the voters of these withdrawals,” Kachale said.
The MEC chairperson said Section 46 (5) of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act says that a withdrawal of a candidate must be voluntary and must be under oath sworn by the candidate before a commissioner for oaths.
The official campaign period started on September 10 2020 and is still running.
“As per requirement of the law, campaign shall end at 6am on December 13 2020. Any campaign activity conducted after this period is illegal and the commission will not hesitate to take necessary measures against those who indulge in such violations,” he said.
Phalombe North has 28 670 registered voters, Mangochi West 27 190 and Mangochi North East 31 501.
United Democratic Front (UDF) is not featuring a candidate in Mangochi West and they agreed with their alliance partner during the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election, DPP, to feature a DPP candidate, according to UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo.
Padambo said in Mangochi North East, a UDF candidate is featured and DPP did not, as per the agreement and upon weighing popularity of the parties in the respective constituencies.
In Phalombe North, UDF did not feature a candidate. The race is now among the following Mavuto Bokosi (Independent), Ester Wadi Kazembe (Malawi Congress Party), Wilfred Goodwin Lipita (Independent), Justin Samuel Mokowa (UTM) and Promise Salima (Independent).