Three of the major political parties in the country have stepped up preparations for by-elections in five vacant constituencies nationwide by embarking on processes to identify candidates to represent them.
In separate interviews yesterday, the parties—Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM Party and United Democratic Front (UDF)—outlined steps they are taking as part of preparations.
Three of the five vacant constituencies—Mangochi West, Mangochi North East and Phalombe North—fell vacant due to nullification of the May 21 2019 parliamentary election results by the courts.
On the other hand, Lilongwe North West became vacant following the resignation of President Lazarus Chakwera prior to the court-sanctioned June 23 Fresh Presidential Election while Karonga Central legislator Cornelius Mwalwanda succumbed to Covid-19 in July this year.
In a written response, MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali said the party will field candidates in all the five constituencies in which by-elections are expected to be conducted.
He said it was in the interest of the party to ensure that it fielded candidates who have good support in their constituencies.
In a separate interview, UTM director of publicity Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the party is currently preparing for primary elections in constituencies to choose candidates.
“Right now we are preparing for primary elections in constituencies where we have more than one aspirant,” he said.
Chidanti Malunga also said UTM Party, which is in the nine-party Tonse Alliance alongside MCP, will support whoever wins the primary elections through to the by-elections.
But UDF secretary general Kandi Padambo yesterday did not clearly indicate if the party will field candidates for the by-elections in all the constituencies.
He said the decision of the party to participate is informed by careful consideration of their chances in any particular constituency or ward.
Efforts to talk to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) newly-appointed spokespersons Brown Mpinganjira and Henry Mussa proved futile as they both did not pick our phone calls on their known mobile numbers.
Meanwhile, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) said it is yet to start making arrangements on holding the by-elections.
In a telephone interview last week, MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika said when they start making such arrangements, they will make them known to the public.