The United Democratic Front (UDF) is yet to release its calendar for local government and parliamentary primaries following dissolution of a primary elections committee, the party’s director of publicity Ken Ndanga said yesterday.
He said he had not received any communication, as of yesterday afternoon, about the establishment of the new committee, which the national executive committee (NEC) approved during the party’s August convention in Blantyre.
“When that is done, we will duly communicate, but there is nothing so far and the calendar of events for the primaries cannot be produced in the absence of this committee,” said Ndanga.
But an earlier press statement issued by the party’s secretary general, Kandi Padambo, explained that the director of elections, who is supposed to chair the primary elections committee, fell ill after the committee was established, and his deputy tried to pick up issues, but the committee made a series of errors.
Padambo said the new committee was going to be recommended by him by yesterday, ahead of briefing today.
“The new committee will then be tasked to establish a calendar of events and a review of the process by October 24, for approval by the secretary general on October 26,” reads Padambo’s statement in part.
The UDF, which is in partnership with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), regretted the delay, but said the party is committed to ensuring that a whole democratic process is followed.
Meanwhile, the DPP has conducted its primaries in at least 35 constituencies in the Northern and Southern regions, according to director of elections Ben Phiri.
He said his team is meeting on Tuesday to decide the next phase of the primaries.
Phiri said the party is conducting primaries in constituencies where their MPs have left to contest elsewhere.
He declined to disclose results, saying that is the responsibility of the party’s spokesperson Francis Kasaila, who could not be reached yesterday on several attempts.
Phiri dismissed reports that the party avoided to conduct primaries in constituencies they have MPs for fear of losing their support in Parliament should they lose the primaries.
He said: “The only reason is that we want representation in all the constituencies across the nation. So, why should we start with constituencies where we already have representation? This has nothing to do with support in Parliament.”
Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials could not be reached yesterday for an update on their primaries, but they were the first to start conducting primaries which have seen some veterans losing to new kids on the block. n