Cries of protest are growing louder against the “fraudulent” conduct of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primary elections for a parliamentary candidate for Blantyre Malabada constituency.
Some representatives of area committees that make up the Electoral College for the primaries told Nyasa Times on Friday that Aaron Sangala, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP), was declared winner of the December 21 2018 primaries against challengers Harrison Chopenga, Blessings Chiponda, Noria Kachale and a Mrs. Chikafa following what they described as “heavy rigging”.
The area committee members (names with-held) are from Zambia Market, Zambia Bridge, Mankhamba and Ndirande Hill DPP, among other area committees in the constituency.
According to one of the members, DPP leaders in the constituency were surprised that the party had decided to conduct primary elections again in various constituencies in the southern region where there were irregularities but left out Blantyre Malabada from the process when in fact, Malabada was the worst case scenario.
On Wednesday, January 2 2019, party VP in southern region Kondwani Nankhumwa met various members of area committees from constituencies where primary elections were marred by various irregularities.
The meeting, which was held at DPP regional offices in Blantyre agreed that they revisit the entire process and conduct a re-run of primary elections in all affected constituencies and wards.
“In Blantyre Malabada, we had the worst primary elections and as a result many voters boycotted them. The presiding officers came around late in the afternoon when we were supposed to commence the process in the morning. One presiding officers was seriously drunk.
“Additionally, instead of letting the independent presiding officers take charge of the proceedings, some southern region, district and Malabada constituency committee members interfered with the elections, clearly favouring MP Sangala,” said the members.
He said these regional, district and constituency committee members physically led voters to stand behind MP Sangala, promising them K10, 000 cash and mobile phone handouts each.
The source also alleged that instead of involving the existing 99 area committees as the Electoral College, the number was bloated to about 120 area committees, which was unacceptable.
“This was the worst corrupt and fraudulent primary elections I have ever seen since I joined politics at the dawn of multiparty democracy. Despite the fact that these irregularities were widely reported in the media and the party leadership, we are surprised that Blantyre Malabada shall not have a re-run. We demand that the VP and the southern region committee leadership reviews our case and include us on the list of constituencies where the party will conduct primary elections again,” said another member.
At the meeting held on Wednesday, VP Nankhumwa admitted some primaries were heavily flawed.
“The way some primaries were conducted left a lot to be desired. It was clear money may have exchanged hands. Imagine some presiding officers left this office at 8 o’clock in the morning with the entire committee and all the resources only to arrive in Ndirande, just a few kilometers away, around three o’clock in the afternoon. Some of them went there while drunk,” he said.
DPP primary elections re-run in the affected constituencies and wards are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 9 2019.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :