Main opposition political party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of flouting electoral rules by campaigning beyond allowed time during the Tuesday’s Parliamentary by-elections in Zomba Chisi constituency.
MCP outclassed DPP in by winning two of the three contested seats in the Parliamentary and Local Government By-elections held in Mchinji, Lilongwe and Zomba districts and whose results were officially confirmed by Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) on Wednesday.
Mec’s Chairperson, Maxon Mbendera disclosed on Wednesday afternoon that MCP officials on Tuesday filed a formal complaint about DPP officials’ conduct in Zomba Chisi constituency were they are alleged to have used a relief maize to campaign for their candidate who eventually won the elections.
Mbendera, however, dismissed MCP complaint, arguing it lacked substantiated evidence that DPP officials indeed used the maize distributed by World Food Programme (WFP) to campaign for the party’s candidate, Mark Botomani.
The complaint, according to Mbendera, alleged that DPP officials claimed that the maize distributed to masses at St. Paul polling centre on Sunday were from government which deserved a vote during the preceding elections on Tuesday.
“The Commission launched investigations, and our findings confirmed that there was indeed maize distribution, however, it was an exercise by WFP and not DPP. We even examined the picture submitted which did not show any evidence of the party campaigning,” explained Mbendera.
Mbendera said it was not clear if the maize distribution was beyond the St. Paul’s envelope and urged the concerned parties not to rush to court as the election’s results proved that DPP candidate did not perform well in the said area.
“Results at St. Paul did not go in DPP’s favour; it was beaten. This clearly shows that despite the party flouting electoral rules, maize hand-out had no effect on Malawians who know their rights,” he said.
“Malawians are mature now and can’t be easily taken up by gifts”.
He has since promised to take up the issue with DPP for flouting electoral rules by campaigning beyond the 48-hour-before-elections-date rule.
MEC held by-elections in Zomba Chisi Constituency, Ngala Ward in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, and Mtope Ward in Mchinji West Constituency.
The elections faced low voter turn-out with only 16,126 voters casting their vote although about 67,557 people had registered.
Official results show that MCP won in both Local Government seats in central region while the ruling DPP scoped the Parliamentary seat in eastern region.
MCP and former ruling People’s Party (PP) performed miserably in eastern region.
In Ngala ward in Lilongwe, MCP candidate, Master Rodgers Chazama won 1,381 votes with DPP candidate, Regina Sululu on second with 717 votes.
A total of 2,128 votes were casted in all polling stations out of 15,330 registered voters representing 13. 88 percent; 30 votes were null and void representing 1.41 percent.
In Mchinji’s Mtope Ward, MCP’s candidate Aureliano Kalemba won with 2,444 votes while DPP’s Benedicto Tsele got 2,071 votes.
There were a total of 26,433 registered voters and only 4,569 casted their votes, representing 17.29 percent voter turn-out. 54 votes were null and void, representing 1.18 percent.
And in Zomba Chisi Constituency, a DPP Parliamentary candidate, Mark Botomani has been declared a winner with 3,019 votes followed by independent candidate, Dyson Chimwala who got 2,792 votes.
Independent candidate, Felistas Mpando Sumani got 2,218 votes, PP’s candidate Asma Mponda got 950 votes and MCP’s Brazio Namakhuwa got 208 votes while Stephen Alexious Chikwapula (independent) got 107 votes.
Zomba Chisi had a total of 25,794 registered voters and only 9,429 turned out for polling, representing 36.56 percent voter turnout. 135 votes were null and void, representing 1.43 percent.
Mbendera has since admitted the by-elections experienced low voter turn-out and described the situation as less satisfactory.
”The situation is less satisfactory comparing to the by-elections we had on 25th August in five wards. The low turnout is of concern to the Commission,” said Mbendera.
The Tuesday’s by-elections recorded an average voter turnout of 23.6 percent comparing to the 25.57 percent in previous elections.
Meanwhile, Mbendera has called for a thorough research to find out the ‘structural causes’ of voter apathy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :