Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) southern region regional governor Charles Mchacha has hinted the party may consider using secret ballot to identify parliamentary and ward councillor candidates ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections.
“It is not the agreed policy (ballot vote) but we’re considering using secret ballot in volatile wards and constituencies where violence and other improper acts may erupt among competing camps. Tempers in many constituencies are flaring amongst competitors because the party is growing extremely popular by the day and many people want to stand on DPP ticket.
“So, to prevent violence, we want to employ a method of voting that ensures that all votes are cast in secret, so that the voter is not influenced by any other individual,” said Mchacha at Marka in Nsanje south constituency where the party’s vice president for southern region, Kondwani Nankhumwa addressed a political rally at the end of his Nsanje whistle-stop tour on Friday, September 21, 2019.
Traditionally, voters are asked to stand behind their preferred candidates during party primaries and then presiding personnel physically count the voters and the candidate who has more voters behind them is considered the winner.
According to Mchacha, open contest exposes voters to physical harm by opposite camps, explaining secret ballots would be used in “primaries where the party anticipates problems,” so that people do not choose representatives under duress or intimidation”.
VP Nankhumwa called on all aspirants, “not only in Nsanje but the entire” country to campaign peacefully ahead of the primaries” whose dates he said would be announced very soon.
“I want to request you to exercise tolerance as you pursue your political dreams. In every contest, there are winners and losers. When we lose, let’s accept the results and rally behind the winner in order to strengthen the party in our respective constituencies and wards. If you lose, don’t lose heart because there are always many opportunities in future,” said Nankhumwa, who is also local government and local government minister and Leader of the House in Parliament.
He said camps shall always emerge where there is competition but assured the people that at the end of the primaries, camps will disappear and DPP shall remain one strong family bound by one goal, with one presidential candidate, parliamentary and ward council candidates.
Violence, insults and results disputes have characterized main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) primary elections. Many people have been injured, notably in Lilongwe. There are also allegations of imposition of MCP candidates by the leadership and other underhand tactics to disadvantage some ‘popular’ candidates.
Commenting on the whistle-stop tour, Nankhumwa said having toured Chikwawa and Nsanje on Thursday and Friday, “the picture is clear now that DPP is an extremely strong party right from the grassroots level” and that when they say that the party shall continue to dominate the political space up to 2084, “it is not a mere joke”.
“Multitudes and multitudes of people support DPP and President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. The party is fully geared for the May 2019 tripartite elections,” he told reporters at the end of the tour.
Nankhumwa reiterated his call that all the people of Nsanje must emulate their brothers and sisters of Chikwawa to register in large numbers as voters during the on-going registration process.
He said it is only until they people are registered that they can vote in 2019 and therefore retain President Mutharika and DPP in power for continued genuine social and political emancipation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :