Despite claims in some quarters that opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has made tremendous political in roads in the Shire Valley, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) still remains unshakably popular and the governing party is poised to win a majority of votes in the region during the May 21 2019 tripartite elections, a senior DPP official has counter-claimed.
Mohammad Sidik Mia, the self-styled Lower Shire ‘political giant’ was picked as MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera presidential running mate in the forthcoming presidential race.
He has since made frantic efforts to garner support for MCP in the Lower Shire region, where he comes from. The region has predominantly been DPP.
Kondwani Nankhumwa, DPP vice-president responsible for Southern Region, has described any claims of MCP turning the tables in the Lower Shire as “wishful thinking”.
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times in Blantyre on Easter Monday, Nankhumwa said Lower Shire remains DPP stronghold because of some of the unprecedented developmental projects the region has gained since 2004 during the reign of late President Bingu wa Mutharika through to 2014 until now, 2019.
“I don’t intend to discuss other political parties and politicians, in as far as the Shire Valley region is concerned; I will dwell on the DPP and our presidential candidate President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
“The people of Chikwawa and Nsanje have enjoyed uninterrupted attention from the DPP administration, which has ensured that they remain included in the larger development agenda. The people of Lower Shire have enjoyed their fair share of good feeder road projects, the rail line rehabilitation project, Thabwa-Marka Road and the Chapananga Bridge, among others” said Nankhumwa.
He said he had lately spent a considerable number of days in the Lower Shire addressing political meetings and holding interactive meetings with opinion leaders such as traditional and religious leaders.
Nankhumwa said people are satisfied with the performance of the DPP-led government under President Mutharika. DPP is ahead in terms of popularity and President Mutharika has the upper hand among all the presidential candidates, he added.
“We wish to reiterate that President Mutharika has spearheaded a socio-economic development revolution to uplift the socio-economic conditions of not only the people of Lower Shire but all Malawians, to rescue them from abject poverty.
“Results are there for everyone to see. DPP has performed exceptionally well across all sectors including health, education, economy as well as the provision of social amenities to cushoon Malawians against the effects of poverty.
“DPP and President Mutharika go into this election cushioned by a background of deliverance and exceptional performance,” said Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development as well as DPP parliamentary candidate for Mulanje central.
Chikwawa has 258 968 voters whilst Nsanje has registered 145,528 voters and cumulatively, the two Lower Shire districts have registered 404,496. In the 2014 elections, DPP won the presidential election and some parliamentary seats in the Lower Shire. DPP’s presidential candidate Mutharika won with 165,047 votes against the second placed PP Joyce Banda’s 41,389 votes.
A sample study of some constituencies in the Lower Shire revealed that DPP and its presidential candidate are indeed ahead of other competing parties.
There are five parliamentary candidates in Nsanje South-West constituency (Boma) – Hellen Buluma (DPP), Joseph Chidanti-Malunga (UTM) Maclean Proffessor Ndafakale (MCP), Chester Bringer Thete (UDF) and Eurita Valeta (Independent.)
The real battle is between DPP’s Hellen Buluma and Eurita Valeta (independent), according to a snap Nyasa Times survey.
In Nsanje Lalanje, DPP parliamentary candidate Gladys Ganda is way ahead of her closest competitor, MCP’s Lawrence Sitolo. Ganda, according to constituents, may win because Sitolo ‘abandoned’ the constituency after winning the October 17, 2017 by-elections.
In Chikwawa Mkombezi, there are seven candidates – Gabriel Wilfred Guta (Independent), Ben Montfort Khuleya (DPP), Rexie Dyson Luya (Independent), Lloyd Laxton Enos Malola, (Independent), Abida Sidik Mia (MCP), Precious Alick Simbi (UTM) and Madalitso Thole, (UDF). Abida Mia is slightly ahead of DPP’s Khuleya, according to interviews.
President Mutharika is the leading presidential candidate in almost all Lower Shire constituencies sampled.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :