The governing People’s Party (PP) has withdrawn from the running mates debate scheduled for Friday, citing Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS)’s bias towards the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
ZBS, however, while regretting PP’s decision, said it will proceed with the debate.
Friday’s debate, which will be the second and final one, is going to take place in Blantyre following the one held in Lilongwe on March 8 2014 which featured running mates from PP, MCP, United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
PP acting secretary general Paul Maulidi said in an interview yesterday that his party will not take part in the debate claiming ZBS favoured MCP during the first round.
Maulidi said preamble speeches attacked the PP on Cashgate and speakers even directed people how to vote in the wake of the scandal.
“Again, each party was supposed to have 30 delegates, but MCP had more. MCP candidate was being given about three minutes to speak while ours was given only a minute. He was being cut short if he extended the time,” said Maulidi.
He also claimed when his party’s candidate spoke, people booed, but clapped hands when the MCP candidate spoke.
“Then people in the hall were given ballot papers to vote for the candidate that has impressed most. It was evident that the one from MCP would carry the day because his members were many,” said Maulidi.
ZBS managing director Gospel Kazako said PP communicated to the Station about its withdrawal.
“We were informed through the interview and we respect their decision. However, we will proceed with the debate because it was not centred on one political party. As for the bias claim, the people are the right judges,” said Kazako.
Meanwhile, ZBS has advised political parties participating in the debate that no party colours will be entertained.
ZBS on Monday met representatives of the running mates at a meeting in Lilongwe and the organisers advised them that party colours and emblems are strictly not allowed.
Kazako said in an interview the representatives of the running mates understood why the party colours are not allowed, explaining it could be misleading if one party dominates the hall.