The former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DP) and the governing People’s Party (PP) concluded their campaign trails for the twin bye elections in Mzimba district with sporadic skirmishes in the Mzimba Central and South West constituencies, a bitter testament to their continued rivalry.
Both parties accuse each other of disturbance or instigation, damages to vehicles and party paraphernalia. They have also lodged separate complaints to Police.
DPP acting president Peter Mutharika was in Mzimba district to drum up support for his party’s candidates.
The former ruling party had a 20 vehicle convoy that included a 60 seater bus, two loud hailers and the traditional blue pickups.
While PP President Mrs. Joyce Banda also held campaign rallies on Friday and Saturday making passionate pleas to voters to give her party the only directly elected and sponsored PP MPs.
The younger Mutharika kick started his campaign trail at Kapando FP School in Mzimba central where he urged people to vote for DPP’s Own Mkandawire saying he was intelligent and not an ‘outsider’.
He then proceeded to Madede FP School where he decried the country’s insecurity situation as indicated by rising crime levels in both urban and rural areas.
“People have to keep their chickens, goats and rabbits in their houses because thieves are freely prowling our neighborhoods,” he claimed.
But as DPP’s campaign convoy retreated from Madede enroute to Mbalachanda, a PP six vehicle convoy filled with Orange Youth blocked Mutharika’s convoy about 10 km from the venue.
As Mutharika’s convoy squeezed past PP’s motorcade, a DPP blue pick registration number BP 8685 rammed into one of PP’s cars consequently damaging its right head lamp.
PP’s organizing secretary Salim Bagus told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview that DPP youth cadets had deliberately banged into vehicle to provoke them.
While DPP Regional Youth Director Kelvin Chirambo thinks PP was trying to either disturb its rallies or confuse voters by constantly following the DPP campaign team.
At Mbalachanda DPP supporters literally chased PP supporters who had come to distribute party cloth about 30 meters from the venue where DPP had its rally.
DPP’s Mzimba Central Elections Coordinator Kenneth Sanga described PP’s supporter’s behavior as unfortunate saying they have been blocking roads for the DPP’s campaign team on several occasions.
“If we were violent then they could have been chaos,” Sanga said.
While on Saturday PP claims it was the DPP campaign team which blocked the roads for its two vehicle convoy.
“We were coming from Kapopo Mshanga and then they blocked the road. They removed some of the flags on the vehicles and beat one of our boys,” Bagus said.
Meanwhile, PP’s Frank Mwenefumbo accused DPP candres of attacking ruling party officials.
Mwenefumbo said cadres from the DPP led by lawmaker Christopher Mzomera Ngwira descended on their counterparts at Mzomba and seriously injured a Mr Njobvuyalema.
According to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) campaign for the by-elections in Mzimba Southwest and Mzimba Central Constituency ends on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 6AM.
“The Commission is informing all stakeholders that it is violation of the electoral laws to campaign outside this period and all those found will face the due process of law,” MEC’s spokesman Sangwani Mwafurilwa said in a statement.
Voting is scheduled for October 9th in both Mzimba Central, which fell vacant following the death of Professor Donton Mkandawire (DPP) and Mzimba South West which fell vacant following the ascendency to the Vice Presidency of Khumbo Kachali.
Contestants in Mzimba Central Constituency are Aram Wedson Mdala Beza for the People’s Party (PP), Owen Mkandawire of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Bonfacio Ngulube of the New Rainbow Coalition (NRC), Enita Njolwa for Aford while Mabvuto J. Kachali and Dennis K. Mvula are independent candidates.
While for Mzimba Southwest, competitors are DPP’s Lonard Chavula, Baxter Revival Manzunda of Aford, PP’s Raymond Chatima Nkhata and James Nthara who is standing as an independent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :