Mwanza Central Constituency legislator Davis Chester Katsonga says he will contest as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Zomba Ntonya Constituency during the 2019 Tripartite Elections, effectively clearing the way for his longtime political challenger and Information Minister Nicholas Dausi to represent the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the area at the polls.
This coincides with a declaration on Tuesday by Dausi, who is also DPP’s spokesperson, that the party will not hold primary elections in constituencies and wards where candidates are strong and have no contestants.
But Katsonga, who joined the DPP after deregistering his Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) after the 2014 general elections, implicitly suggested he has given away his constituency due to internal pressure from the party’s top ranks.
Said Katsonga: “I have been contesting in Mwanza Central since 1999, and politics being what politics is, one has to respond to what is current. There are issues that I could not deal with… Not from Mwanza people but other top politicians and I felt that I was safer contesting in Zomba.”
He added that he clarifies to stand in Zomba in the forthcoming parliamentary elections claiming that Zomba Ntonya is his home where he grew up, went to school and where his grandfather and parents were buried.
“About my performance I can easily answer that but it would be best If you could do a survey in Mwanza so that the voters themselves should answer that,” he added.
Responding to Katsonga’s sentiments in a separate interview, Dausi dismissed claims by the incumbent legislator that he has decided to contest in Zomba following pressure inside the party.
Said Dausi: “That is not true. The DPP is a democratic party and has not barred him from contesting in the area. Probably he has changed constituencies due to other personal reasons.”
However, unconfirmed reports from sources privy to the issue indicate that Dausi has so far mounted an intensive campaign to win back his seat, and that Katsonga has already communicated his intention to Mwanza District Commissioner.
Meanwhile, executive director for the National Elections Systems Trust(Nest) Unandi Banda says MPs are at liberty to contest wherever they can be accepted by law.
“One can contest wherever they are legally accepted to do so, it can be in their place of residence, place of birth or working place,” he said.
Chancellor College-based political scientist Ernest Thindwa also concurred with Banda, saying Malawi’s electoral laws do not bar anyone from changing constituencies as long as they can identify themselves that they have the legal requirements to contest in those constituencies.
“However, it also reflects that they feel they cannot win in their current constituency so they need to try elsewhere,” Thindwa added.
Ahead of the 2009 and the 2014 general elections, Mwanza Central Constituency was marred by violence between rival camps belonging to Dausi and Katsonga.
Katsonga now joins parliamentarian for Salima Central Constituency Felix Jumbe, who earlier also announced his intention to switch to Salima North Constituency to pave way for Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu who will likely stand as a DPP canbdidate in the area.
Jumbe, who dumped the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), said yesterday that he will stand on the DPP ticket because he wants to move away from people who have ill motives against him.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :