People’s Party (PP) says its leader Joyce Banda written off by some for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, has rediscovered her political bite winning hearts of the electorate with masses patronizing her rallies across the country, saying those underrating her might be in for a shock after the polls.
It is said that two things are inevitable in life: death and taxes. To these a third might be added – election victory for former president Banda, popularly known as JB by her initials, according to PP spokesperson Ackson Kalaile-Banda.
Kalaile-Banda told Nyasa Times in an interview on Sunday that JB is gaining momentum and has proven capable of reaching out to voters beyond the party’s base.
He said after Banda held a rally at Machinga South East constituency rally at Mmwala School ground held on Friday November 30 2018 and on Sunday at Sadzi, Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba central constituency, saying the bumper crowds have proved she is still a force to be reckoned with.
The PP spokesman also said the study by the Institute for Public Opinion and Policy Research (IPOPR), whose lead researcher is University of Malawi political scientist Boniface Dulani, said Banda is the most trustworthy leader among all the presidential candidates is proving to be real.
“JB is quickly gaining ground because of her pro-poor agenda that she initiated in her two year rule from 2012 to 2014 and now coming up with additional vibrant message that is addressing the suffering Malawians,” Kalaile said.
“We have done our calculations across the country based on our areas in each constituency, if we add up the figures we come up with close to 1,9 million voters, these are secured and decided voters that we monitor each and every day ready to cast votes for our President Dr Joyce Banda.
“We are not surprised with the mammoth turnout of people despite that we don’t do the adverts or mobilization as our friends do, like hiring live band,we have the people on ground ready to vote for Dr Joyce Banda but we shall continue to reach out to everyone because our target for 2019 is about 3 million voters ,” Kalaile Banda said
After losing 2 014 elections in May, JB left the country, as she puts it, ‘to enable President Peter Mutharika to run State affairs without her interference’.
But since returning in April this year, Banda, 68, has been criss-crossing the country engaging the electorate and has launched a bid to claim the leadership of the country which she lost to Mutharika in a controversial 2014 elections which was marred with irregularities.
During the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Banda, who was an incumbent, having ascended to the presidency in line with constitutional order in April 2012, finished a distant third with 1 056 236 votes or 20.2 percent. President Peter Mutharika—standing on a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket with Vice-President Saulos Chilima as his running mate on the ballot paper—won with 1 904 99, representing 36.4 percent while MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera polled 27.8 percent with 1 455 880.
In terms of parliamentary representation, in the 2014 elections, DPP won 50 seats, MCP 48, PP 26 and independents 52. United Democratic Front (UDF), which formed the first multiparty administration in 1994, won 14 seats with Aford and the now-defunct Chipani Cha Pfuko getting one seat each.