Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has admitted it has to tread careful in handling contentious results as it continues to conduct primary elections across the country.
The party is caught in between quickly fixing the challenges or going for thorough analysis before coming with a verdict as either of the two may end up dividing its electorates.
In an interview on Tuesday, the party’s publicity secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali said the party needs to analyse each case extensively before coming up with a verdict.
He was responding to a question on what verdict the party has made on the October 6 primaries for Rumphi Central Constituency that were suspended after reports of anomalies.
Munthali said: “It is not only the Rumphi Central issues we are still analysing. We also received complaints from various areas concerning the primary elections. As a party, we will have to critically analyse all situations. We need to have a verdict that is also in line with the electorates on the ground. We are not imposing any candidate on the voter.”
In the Rumphi primaries, businessman Payikene Mkandawire was contesting against the party’s incumbent North-north regional secretary, Chidumba Mkandawire. The region encompasses Rumphi, Karonga and Chitipa districts.
Munthali however could not commit on when the party will conclude the cases, saying the party gurus were yet to meet on the same.
“We should be meeting any soon. It’s only then we can announce the party’s positions on the disputed results, including the dates for the fresh elections,” said Munthali.
A report by MCP’s Rumphi District Chairman Kennie Mzembe on the disputed constituency primaries which the The Nation has a copy alleges that the elections were suspended over disagreements on the number of electoral collages.
Mzembe confirmed that that the total number of people who voted exceeded by 108 that of the recognised electoral college.
Reads part of the letter: “Before voting started, it was rumoured and then verified to be true that one of the aspirants, Payikeni Patrick Mkandawire) hired a vehicle in his own capacity from Mjuma to Thumpi [the venue], a development that the aspirant admitted to have done. Upon admitting to the anomaly, Payikeni instantly made a phone call, ordering the driver to go back with the people.”
However, in his complaint letter, Chidumba felt his competitor cheated, and only appeared to make the call to hoodwink the officials.
Neither Mzembe nor any of the presiding officers signed for the results, citing infiltration of non-delegates.
Payikeni could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Last month, MCP also suspended primary elections in Jesse Kabwila’s Salima North West Constituency over similar allegations.
Kabwila lamented that political parties were rarely leveling the playing field to ensure free and fairl elections.
She said: “What we are looking for is for some transparency where the dates are clear, venues neutral and the areas not tampered with.”