The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of elections, Ben Phiri has described UTM Party led by vice-president Saulos Chilima has no structures across the country and that its presence is much on social media platforms.
Phiri was speaking during Face the Nation interview programme aired on Rainbow TV.
He pointed out that UTM is strong on social media with more followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, higher posting frequencies, and more fan engagement (e.g. likes, comments and shares) but they have no voters with them.
“Political popularity [to win elections] is not Facebook, not Whatsapp. We don’t win elections on social media. We win on the ground with the electorate at the grassroots,” Phiri said.
He said social media data would show a different picture to polling numbers of the registered voters.
Chilima is generally seen in a more positive light by social media users but Phiri said DPP has its backing from real registered voters across the country, especially on the grassroots.
“We have voters. We have numbers. DPP is winning the elections hands down,” he said.
Phiri stressed UTM cannot win the polls because the party has no grassroots support and will lose miserably in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
“Most people who make noise on social media in support of UTM are not in Malawi. They are not voters. They are well known noise makers and attention seekers on Facebook while staying abroad [UK, USA],” he said.
He told programme host Aubrey Kusakala that the watershed elections are a battle between oldest Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and DPP.
Phiri said DPP is very popular due to various development programmes which the Peter Mutharika administration has undertaken, branding the President as “Mr Deliverer”.
The DPP director of elections cited various developments which the party has undertaken since ushered into power in 2014.
The year after Mutharika took power in 2014, floods that wracked the southern African nation and forced more than 200,000 people from their homes and killed at least 176 were followed by drought and widespread food shortages. Rebuilding efforts were hampered by a foreign-aid freeze after a scandal during the previous administration known as Cashgate that saw as much as $33 million allegedly looted from state coffers.
But the DPP government took painful steps to stabilize the economy and the currency, the kwacha, and brought inflation down from a peak of 24 percent to a single digit.
Phiri is also aspiring parliamentary candidate for Thyolo Central Constituency and is likely to win. He recently launched K10 million football and netball trophies, the second edition of the competitions after successfully introducing them last year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :