The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has broken the agreed modality with its political ally United Democratic Front (UDF) on how to feature candidates in the August 25 Local Government by-elections.
The by-elections are taking place in five wards of Khwawa in Karonga, Chibanja in Mzuzu, Msikisi in Mangochi, Zomba Central in Zomba City and Luchenza in Thyolo.
Initially, two bedfellows have agreed that DPP will not feature a candidate in Mangochi and will instead support the UDF candidate, while in Zomba; DPP will feature a candidate who the UDF will support.
As a result DPP reportedly withdrew its candidates from Msikisi Ward in Mangochi the same way UDF did in Zomba, Luchenza and other areas.
DPP director of elections, Kondwani Nankhumwa is on record saying the arrangement was “gentlemen’s agreement.”
During presentation of nomination papers on Tuesday, UDF supporters were shocked to see a DPP candidate who had reportedly declared withdrawal earlier in respect of party alliance agreement submitting papers to MEC.
The candidate was escorted by some few party loyalists but after submitting the nomination papers the candidate wore a DPP T-shirt and a scarf. He was cheered by DPP supporters singing pro-DPP songs and taunting UDF.
DPP Secretary General Ekileni Kudontoni insisted the party is not backing any candidate in Mangochi.
“DPP is out of Mangochi race. It’s a UDF candidate contesting there,” said Kudontoni.
But out to him of the candidate who has presented his nomination papers, Kudontoni said “Not under DPP ticket. We will look into that.”
UDF Spokesperson Ken Ndanga expressed disappointment with the development saying DPP honoured the agreement as it were but that they party cannot control its members who has decided to go as an independent.
“When we looked at the election pattern, the DPP and UDF had discussion on how the two parties are going to approach these elections and through the discussions we agreed that the DPP will not be fielding candidates in Mangochi and that UDF will also not field a candidate in a ward in Zomba”, said Ndanga.
There are reports about cracks emerging in the DPP-UDF alliance with some DPP top brass working to frustrate the alliance with a feeling that political positions and opportunities may be snatched by their alliance rivals in UDF.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :