An infuriated group of United Democratic Front (UDF) members from 42 areas in Mulanje South constituency Tuesday (4/2/14) marched to the party’s constituency office at Chitakale where they presented a petition to the constituency governor to show their dissatisfaction over the way parliamentary primary elections were conducted in the constituency on 24th January, 2014 at Thawale F P School ground.
In a three paged letter signed by representatives of the Mulanje South areas, the members are questioning why the results of the elections were not announced at the venue of the elections.
“We are the people who voted and we saw it that Santigo John Phiri, whom we wanted, had more votes but chairman of the elections Yahaya Mmadi decided to pick a person of his choice who did not get more votes,” reads part of the letter.
The members further threaten that if the party decides to take on board Brian Magoya who was allegedly hand- picked by Mmadi, they would leave the party.
“If they decide not to go for a re-run and instead continue with Mmadi as the party’s candidate, we will leave the party and join other parties where we believe democratic values are respected and adhered to,” the letter further said.
When contacted, Santigo Phiri said he felt cheated as he was the winner on the day.
“According to the number of votes that I accumulated, it was my day but interestingly, they chose to leave the people who voted in the dark,” said Santigo.
Santigo further claims that he was contacted by Mmadi and was advised to go to Blantyre to get the results of the primaries, a thing which he said he could not do because it is the voters who wanted to know the results. He also said he had written the party expressing the same sentiments.
“I am of course still faithful to the party and will not go independent as that will mean weakening the party. But I am just disappointed because the party is favouring a candidate who will not win the elections. In all fairness, the party should organize a re-run otherwise my supporters are saying if I don’t stand, they will leave the party,” claimed Santigo.
Organising Secretary in the party Lilian Patel said such issues are better commented by the Secretary General whose phone was out of reach. However, UDF District Governor for Mulanje Felix Mwaononga said according to reports he received, it was Magoya that won the primaries beating Santigo, Henry Median and Ina Mezalumo.
“I was not physically there but I got information that out of the four contestants, Santigo got 520 votes while Magoya accumulated 815 votes,” said Mwaononga.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :