Aspirant Member of Parliament for Salima North West constituency on Malawi Congress Party (MCP) ticket, Enock Phale is suspected of conniving with some of his supporters to write a letter on Sunday calling for primary elections to be held on Monday.
And the primaries did take place and declared him the winner, saying the other contestants, incumbent Jessie Kabwila and Moses Buwa boycotted.
The letter that circulated written in ink by MCP Salima North West deputy constituency chairperson Samson Kenneth says: “You are being informed that there will be primaries at Kanjuwi School on 17 December at 8:00am. Every aspirant is being warned not bring any delegates to the venue.”
Traditionally, MCP primaries are held in consultation with director of elections, regional chairperson and national executive committee who duly inform all relevant parties.
Kabwila held a press conference on Monday morning outside Parliament backed by MCP Salima North West chairman Yosofati Makamu and secretary Misheck Chizinga, among other party officials from Salima where she trashed the letter and described it as an insult to party protocol.
On the other hand, MCP Publicity Secretary Maurice Munthali has also condemned the letter, saying this call for primaries has no blessing of party structures and is illegal.
Kabwila said she wrote MCP headquarters to express her misgivings on the matter, alleging that Kenneth is a puppet of her opponent Phale.
“I would like to let you know that I’m not attending the ‘primaries’ that have been called by aspirant Enock Phale’s campaign director and vice constituency chair Mr Samson Kenneth,” reads Kabwila’s letter addressed to Director of Elections, Elias Chakwera.
“The Regional chair in no less than three meetings attended by Lakeshore directors stated that there would be no primaries in my constituency following two failed elections.
“As late as this last evening at around 17hrs, he assured me that on Monday he was going to see the Director of Elections to inform him that the Region has decided not to have elections in Salima North West but go for a political solution.”
Kabwila added that she, therefore, find these primaries bogus, illegitimate and clearly tailored to ensure that she loses.
“I was not informed of the primaries properly and have not prepared for such unlawful primaries because the regional chairman emphasised that he had spoken to the region and that there would be no primaries,” she said.
Phale, MCP Lakeshore regional chairperson Augustine Chidzanja and national director of elections Chakwera, were not immediately available for comment.
But when contacted, MCP spokesperson described the purported primaries as an ambush, wondering how a mere deputy constituency chairperson could call for primaries.
“As a party we do not know anything about those primaries. We will not recognise the results of those primaries,” stressed Munthali.
He added that as a party, they are waiting for communication from the director of elections and regional chairman as regards the future of primaries in Salima North West.