People’s Party (PP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) are anticipating ‘dirty-free’ primary elections after capitalising on mistakes created by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The two former ruling parties said they have been on a learning and review exercise of the two parties’ administration of their elections and hope to do better.
While PP is, yet, to release its calendar for the local government and parliamentary primaries, the UDF just started conducting the exercise this week.
In an interview on Thursday, PP spokesperson Ackson Kalaile Banda said they have finalised working on modalities and will be releasing their schedule ‘as soon as possible, possibly as early as next week’.
He said having ‘carefully analysed’ the chaos happening in MCP and DPP, they expect to be the first major party to hold unbiased elections.
“The main problem with them [MCP and DPP] was failure by the elections’ returning officers to allow the will of the people by imposing candidates on voters,” claimed Kalaile Banda.
On his part, UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga said they took long to begin the exercise to ensure all thorny issues were ironed out before going on the ground.
“Our colleagues [DPP and MCP] proceeded, but when we saw the challenges and agreed to resolve them first because you don’t proceed when people are already divided in terms of what should be done.
“You don’t conduct elections when other aspirants are not aware of the ground rules. We have made sure if there should be complaints, they should not be about procedures, but because some people simply do not accept there can be only one winner at an election,” explained Ndanga.
But commenting on the assertions, political analyst Henry Chingaipe said while UDF and PP were free to say their minds, he did not expect anything new.
He said: “DPP and MCP also told us they were ready and everything was in place to hold free and fair primary elections, but we know how they faired.
“DPP said they were studying and sorting out things and would start holding their primaries after Parliament’s meeting. But what we have seen in the last one week is chaos. What they said and practiced is different. So, why should we expect PP and UDF to be any different?”
MCP and DPP primaries have been marred by serious misunderstandings mainly because of alleged dubious electoral colleges and procedures.
The development has resulted in a faction of DPP demanding the resignation of secretary general Greselder Jeffrey for ‘messing’ up the elections.