New kid on the political block Charles Tikhiwa outwitted incumbent opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Zomba-Thondwe Constituency Annie Singani Lemani with 1458 votes against 1038 during primary elections held in the constituency on December 31 2013.
This means Tikhiwa holds the candidature for the party ahead of the May 20 tripartite elections this year. The constituency had four people contesting for the primary elections but two withdrew at the eleventh hour.
Lemani is the party’s deputy national director of elections and has since declared to stand as an independent candidate during the tripartite elections. She also once served as a deputy minister during the late Bingu wa Mutharika era.
In his triumphant speech, Tikhiwa said his door is open and would work with anybody in DPP.
“I am happy to have won the primary elections and this has given me the strength to work extra hard so that DPP sails through in the May tripartite elections. I am open to criticism and ready to work with anybody for the benefit of the party in my area,” Tikhiwa told Nyasa Times soon after the primary elections.
Presiding officer for the elections, Henry Mussa expressed dismay with Lemani’s statement to run as an independent candidate.
“Being a senior member of the party Lemani could not have spoken the way she has done. Anyway, anybody has the right to express their mind. The best she could have done was to accept the results and work together with the winner,” he said.
Last week, DPP Eastern Region vice-president Yunus Mussa floored George Kanyalika with a landslide victory in other primary elections for Zomba-Central Constituency.
These two constituencies draw a lot of attention from the people in Zomba owing to their past histories of MPs such as the late Dumbo Lemani in Thondwe and the norm of Zomba-Central not repeating a candidate.
But Yunus Mussa became the first candidate in the multi-party era to win consecutively; first on UDF ticket and later on DPP ticket.