Unofficial results from on Tuesday’s fresh parliamentary election in Nkhata Bay Central Constituency show that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Symon Vuwa Kaunda is the masses’ favourite as they have voted him back to Parliament.
The results show that Kaunda amassed 5 439 votes against 5 223 for his fierce rival Ralph Mhone of People’s Party (PP) who moved the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal to nullify Kaunda’s May 21 2019 victory over alleged irregularities. United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Gabriel Chirwa finished a distant third.
In an interview around 11.30pm, Kaunda said the victory has vindicated his position that the election in May 2019 was not marred by any irregularities.
He said: “We have been telling people that I won the May 2019 election fair and square, but someone decided to tell the court lies.
“Today, the same people who voted last time are the ones that have done it again. We thank God and I feel relieved about what has happened.”
Mhone, legislator for the area between 2014 and 2019, had the backing of the governing nine political-party Tonse Alliance which had some of its partners—Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party—withdraw from the race to boost his chances.
Besides the Nkhata Bay Central parliamentary election, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Tuesday also administered local government by-elections in Chikwembere Ward in Blantyre North Constituency and Lalanje Ward in Nsanje Lalanje Constituency.
In Chikwembere Ward, unofficial results showed that DPP candidate Flossie Elizabeth Hera has won the election which was marred by voter apathy. This means DPP as a party has retained ward.
With only 3 675 cast votes out of the initial 17 959 registered voters, Hera had 1 681 votes against 681 for UDF candidate Jacks Nkhoma and 583 for MCP’s Wyson Makungwa. There were six candidates in the race.
In Lalanje Ward, the unofficial results showed the MCP candidate ahead of the DPP torchbearer. The ward was previously held by a DPP representative.
In Nkhata Bay Central, voting was generally peaceful, except for few incidents, especially at the Town Hall Centre where suspected Tonse Alliance and DPP supporters tried to outshine each other. Police were called in to quell the situation.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Rodney Simwaka, who is also the returning officer, described the election as the most peaceful in history.
In an interview, he said: “It’s been the most peaceful election and we thank people for conducting themselves in an orderly manner.”
Earlier, political analysts described the election in Nkhata Bay Central as a barometer, saying victory for the PP candidate would cement Tonse Alliance’s authority while his loss will be interpreted as a reflection of people’s growing anxiety over socioeconomic challenges they are facing.
On the other hand, the analysts said a DPP loss would confirm the party’s dwindling support at grass roots level while victory for its candidate will largely be based on people’s choice of Kaunda and not necessarily DPP as a party.