Disagreements, tussling, threats and fighting took center stage during the UTM Party primary elections at Lilongwe City South East Constituency that were held over the weekend.
Various disagreements ranging from claims of ghost constituency areas and delegates and duplication of results were the order of the day, which left the presiding officer Mertcher Chirwa lacking in his decision making.
UTM Vice Secretary General Levie Luwemba and Luke Wongani Mkandawire who were the main contenders and their delegates kept on blaming each other on the irregularities before, during and after the voting.
Some monitors from both sides as well as party observers that Nyasa Times spoke to confirmed that there were so many irregularities mainly on the difference between the recorded results after vote counting and the actual results announced by the presided officers from UTM district office.
There were differences on how the presiding officers chose to fill in the delegates from the 85 areas where the party has not representative as it was suspected that venders and bicycle transport operators from Area 23 market were called to fill in the vacant areas.
“At State House center, during the counting of the votes, Luwemba is said to have 54 votes against Mkandawire’s 213 votes but it was later recorded that Luwemba got 101 while at Mlodza Center, Luwemba got 126 votes against Mkandawire’s 401 yet they recorded the later’s votes as 243,” said one of the monitors who spoke on condition of anonymity.
At the end of the day, Mkandawire refused to sign the result sheet ‘suspecting massive, organized electoral fraud.’
In an interview later after, Mkandawire said the party could have assigned a senior and unbiased person who could not be intimidated by any of the contestants.
Both Chirwa and Luwemba could not be reached for a comment while the party’s Secretary General Patricia Kaliati’s phone went unanswered several times.
The primary elections in the area failed to take place on Tuesday last week when UTM Director of Youth Bon Kalindo who was the presiding officer called off the activities after noting several similar irregularities.
The UTM party had initially announced that it would hold primary election in all the 193 constituencies and 452 wards nationwide simultaneously on January 3, but misunderstandings in some areas resulted in the cancellation and postponement of the elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :