Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has closed doors for aspiring parliamentary candidates, limiting the number to three per constituency, raising more questions than political answers.
Aspiring candidate for Nkhotokota north Charles Kameja said he was surprised when he was told by the DPP district governor that he could not present his nomination papers because the number of contestants was already full.
“It is really disappointing and disheartening that the DPP has shut down all doors against us, they say they can only take three. This smacks of corruption in the way the candidates are chosen,” said Kameja.
Nkhotakota DPP governor Odala Phiri confirmed the nomination papers of Kameja and others were rejected, saying this was an order from the party regional committee.
“We were told that the number of contestants should be reduced to three for the parliamentary contest but open for the local government elections,” he said.
He could not give reasons why the regional party committee made the decision, which many think was aimed at favouring certain powerful and influential candidates who feel unsecure during the parliamentary polls.
DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey, who is also Nkhotakota South member of Parliament (MP) said the party wants its supporters to democratically choose their representatives.
“Everyone will go through the primaries because I may have someone I like, but that may not be the person people on the ground want. So we want the people, our supporters to choose for themselves.
“As a party, we want supporters to choose for themselves, even in my constituency, we will have primary elections. No leader in DPP will influence the outcome of primary elections,” she said.
Jeffrey said the party will sign a pact with all aspirants to the effect that those who lose will agree not to contest as independent candidates.