Aford’s Chihana grabs Rumphi central from DPP

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) founding president Chakufwa Chihana’s son on Tuesday scooped the Rumphi central constituency seat deemed as the heavily contested parliamentary by-election .

Results  indicated Enoch Chihana polled some 6, 641 votes against DPP’s Norman Nyirenda’s 3, 275 votes. Chidumba Mkandawire of Mutharika’s estranged Vice President, Joyce Banda, came a close third with 2, 832 votes.

Peter Chihana, candidate for Peoples’ Democratic Movement (PDM),  which had backing  by Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), came last with 1, 578 votes.

The Rumphi central constituency fell vacant following the death of former DPP Parliamentarian Professor Moses Chirambo last year.

Enock Chihana: Wins the seat. Photo: Nyasa Times

The bye-election was another test for the ruling party’s popularity in the north and also a test for newly registered People’s Party and PDM which has been backed by Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP.

President Bingu wa Mutharika visited the area to campaign for DPP candidate; Vice President Joyce Banda also toured the constituency to garner support for People’s Party.

Former ruling UDF which did not feature a candidate supported Aford’s Chihana as son to former president Bakili Muluzi – Atupele, who is UDF deputy leader in parliament addressed rallies in the constituency to tout Enock’s candidature.

Peoples Party Director of Elections Reverend Emmanuel Chinkwita Phiri, a former commissioner at the Electoral Commission, meanwhile, conceded that Aford’s Chihana won the polls “clean”.

DPP top official Francis Mphepo protested that there were “irregularities” and refused to accept the results.

But Aford Vice President Tennson Chinkhokwe Banda said the victory was a sign that “Aford rebirth is here.”

Jubilant supporters of Aford spent the night celebrating their early victory from results that there trickling in.

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