Analysts say results of Tuesday’s by-elections have shown that the opposition has not done much to appeal to the electorate and grab seats from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
But leading opposition parties on Wednesday said they could have done better had the votes not been rigged.
Official results from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced in Blantyre yesterday showed that of the five wards that were being contested, DPP won Khwawa Ward in Karonga; retained Central Ward in Zomba and Luchenza Ward in Thyolo while the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won Chibanja Ward in Mzuzu and the United Democratic Front (UDF) retained Msikisi Ward in Mangochi.
All the vacancies in the five wards arose following the deaths of councillors elected in May 2014.
Boniface Dulani, a political analyst from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), said the results have shown that the opposition has failed to appeal to the electorate.
“You would have expected the opposition to gain ground in the ruling party’s areas, but the results have failed to show that. This means the electorate is not ready to satisfy a divided opposition which is failing to contribute something worth appealing to them,” Dulani said.
He said this also shows that the electorate is disillusioned because it sees the political process in the country as benefitting only the politicians and not them; hence, the voter apathy.
The voter turnout during the by-election was at 25.87 percent, which Dulani said shows that people are not interested in Local Government Elections as they would benefit nothing since the ruling party would remain the same.
But Happy Kayuni, an administrative and political studies lecturer at Chancellor College, blamed the results on the short period between the time of by-elections and that of tripartite elections.
“That is why those that voted for the opposition have done the same, so too those that voted for the ruling party. In fact, the results of these by-elections have no significant projection of what will happen in 2019 because the period is too short,” he said.
Meanwhile, the People’s Party (PP) has rejected the results of the by-elections, claiming they were characterised by massive rigging.
“There was intimidation and the electorate was being given money by the DPP. We complained to MEC, but we are surprised that nothing has been done,” said PP spokesperson Ken Msonda.
MEC chairperson,Justice Maxon Mbendera confirmed receiving complaints from PP, but said there was no evidence to substantiate the claims.