The opposition Peoples Party (PP) has expressed its bitterness over a miserable performance during the Tuesday’s Local Government by-elections, describing the polls as free but not fair and credible.
PP failed to win a single seat in the By-elections with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dominating the results, winning three out of the five competed wards.
DPP won in Karonga Khwawa Ward, Luchenza Ward and Zomba Central Ward, while Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won in Mzuzu Chibanja Ward and United Democratic Front (UDF) emerged winner in Mangochi Msikisi Ward.
However, without conceding defeat, PP has blamed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) for failing to stage fair and credible elections, arguing DPP used intimidation to win the polls characterized by low voter turn-out.
PP Publicity Secretary, Ken Msonda told Nyasa Times the by-elections were marred with irregularities and intimidation from the ruling party, which he said was a threat to democracy.
“The recent by-elections were free in the sense that we did not experience acts of violence; but not fair and credible. What has happened is a threat to democracy. The by-elections were marred with
serious voter apathy and irregularities,” said Msonda.
Msonda described the voter apathy as a clear indication that Malawians have lost trust in the Commission and are still bitter with the way Mec conducted the 2014 Tripartite Elections won by DPP.
“In some wards like Khwawa in Karonga and Luchenza in Thyolo, we witnessed acts of intimidation to opposition monitors by the ruling DPP cadets and serious irregularities,’’ claimed Msonda.
“The matter was reported to Mec and NICE officials as well as the Police but no action taken. The Peoples Party made an official complaint to MEC but typical of the Commission no feedback was done and the Commission in its wisdom went ahead and declared the by-elections free, fair and credible’’.
Msonda has since warned that the 2019 elections shall be characterized with high level of voter apathy, numerous irregularities, anomalies, discrepancies and intimidation by the ruling DPP if Mec and other electoral stakeholders do not address the issue of electoral reforms.
Political analyst from University of Malawi, Boniface Dulani observed that PP “house is in disarray.”
But announcing the results on Wednesday, MEC chairperson, Justice Maxon Raphael Mbendera said the electoral body was impressed that the by-elections had “all the required components of transparency, inclusiveness, freeness and fairness.”
Mbendera while bemoaning the voter apathy, declared the elections as free, fair and credible, and has since urged institutions of higher learning in the country to conduct a research on the causes of voter apathy in Malawi.
The highest percentage voter turnout in the five wards was 42.72 percent registered in Luchenza Ward while the lowest was 13.42 percent in Zomba Central Ward.
The average voter turnout was 25.87 percent compared to the turnout during the Tripartite Elections which was 70.7 percent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :