Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has won a popularity test against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with by-election gains which has seen the party shrugging off challenge in the Lilongwe by-elections.
By-elections in Lilongwe City South East were called after a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order for a rerun after noting irregularities in the parliamentary race on May 20 2014 whereas in the areas the vacancies arose following deaths of office holders.
The court nullified the May 20 2014 parliamentary results in Lilongwe City South East Constituency that declared Bentley Namasusu of DPP winner.
MCP contestant in the elections, Ulemu Msungama, challenged the results on the basis of irregularities, something the court upheld.
Msungama on Tuesday got his electoral justice when he won the contest when he got 6 722 votes of the 11 616 cast against 3 597 for his closest challenger, DPP’s Reuben Ngwenya. Other candidates, Ellen Kadango and Christopher Manja had 311 and 891 votes, respectively while 95 were null and void.
In Lilongwe Msozi North, MCP’s candidate former president Joyce Banda’s running mate in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Sosten Gwengwe, secured victory to return to parliament with 10, 015 votes against DPP’s Bruno Daka who polled 2559.
In Mtsiriza Ward, results announced at the tally centre indicated MCP candidate Kinwel Frank Zikaola got 921 votes compared to 825 for Julio Benedicto Jumbe of DPP and 169 for UDF’s Brighton Golombe Edward. There were 39 null and void votes. The area has 11 621 registered voters.
MCP has also won parliamentary seat in Nsanje Lalanje and a Local government ward in Ndirande Malabada while DPP won only in Dedza Mayani – translating in 51 victory.
“ The by-electionst signals to everyone that the political pendulum in our country is swinging,” MCP director of elections Maxwell Thyolera told Nyasa Times.
He said voters have delivered a stinging rebuke to the DPP.
Thyolera said DPP attempted to fraudntley win the by-elections but their party machinery were awake.
He said theMCP victory against DPP which used tax funds for campaign will be a major psychological blow to President Peter Mutharika and the ruling party.
“We have shown that despite some dirty politics against MCP, we are force to reckon with,” he said.
He said the by-elections were a “mini-referendum about the future of Malawi” and that voters have indicated they want change.
The Tuesday’s vote sent a clear message that the electorate cannot be taken for granted.
MCP has also shown that it could challenge the ruling DPP in its strongholds.
Ernest Thindwa, who teaches political science at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said DPP loss in Nsanje Lalanje would affect DPP morale and “dampen their spirits.”
Mustapha Hussein, another political analyst based at Chancellor College, said Nsanje Lalanje win for MCP will mean “the MCP is getting a foothold in the Southern Region” which has been the political bedrock of the ruling party.
he by-elections were held in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, Mayani North Ward in Dedza, Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe, Ndirande Makata Ward and Nsanje Lalanje Constituency in Nsanje District.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :