Political analysts have said UTM Party of vice-president Saulos Chilima has proved its relevance after it won a parliamentary seat in Karonga Northwest by-election and its member who stood as independent in Zomba Changalume also winning as his runner-up was also from UTM.
On Tuesday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) held by-elections in Karonga North West, Ntchisi North West, Lilongwe Msinja South, Zomba Changalume, Nsanje North, Chikwawa East and Nsanje Central constituencies as well as Liviridzi Ward in Balaka West and Chitakale Ward in Mulanje South.
Unofficial results for Karonga Northwest by-election show that UTM Party candidate Felix Katwaff Kaira has won with 9, 537 votes beating Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) Daniel Mwanyongo Chitonya who polled 9, 207 votes.
Political analysts have said the election outcome is a litmus taste for both the governing and opposition parties.
Unofficial results for Zomba Changalume constituency by-elections indicate Independent candidate, Biziwick Million – a member of UTM – has won with 4,280 votes and the first runner up is UTM party candidate Jean Cheonga Chilemba with 2,651 votes.
Popular businessman Mahommed Hanif Osman alias OG Isaa comes third on the list with 2,493 votes while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Mary Matiya Muheya got 2,207 votes placing her on fourth position in the race.
People’s Party (PP) candidate, Lawrence Bisika only managed to get 748 votes out of the 13,679 total valid votes.
The seat was vacant after PP’s legislator Jones Chikalimba succumbed to Covid-19.
Mzuzu University political analyst Chrispin Mphande said the stakes were high for the UTM Party to prove its relevance in the by-elections “and they have just done that.”
Political Science Association president Joseph Chunga said the elections, coming after the euphoria of the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election has settled, present a better gauge on where parties are standing.
He said the outcomes indicates the strengths of parties like UTM as a coalition partner of MCP, but also DPP as main opposition, as to whether it is still holding on or we should expect its strength to go.
Chunga said the defeat of DPP in Nsanje central and North which MCP has carried the day is “a big loss.”
United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Sam Khumbanyiwa, whose win in Chikwawa East Constituency in 2019 was also nullified in court, was reportedly set to reclaim his seat.
The UDF candidate, according to unofficial results, has won with 7 584 vote`s followed by Ginford Mabo Maulidi of DPP who polled 5 065 votes, Foster Thipiwa (MCP) had 4 712 votes, UTM’s Fyson Dancai Mainjeni got 154 votes.
In the previous two by-elections held since the May 2019 polls, independent candidates won two seats in Mangochi West and Phalombe North, while MCP also won two in Karonga Central and Lilongwe North West constituencies.
UDF also won in Mangochi North East Constituency and Makhwira South Ward in Chikwawa.--Additional reporting by Jordan Simeon-Phiri,Leah Malimbasa-MEC StringerFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :