Petra’s Chibambo withdraws: Davis Katsonga warns against rigging, joins Malawi presidential race

People’s Transformation Party President Kamuzu Chibambo has withdrawn from contesting in the presidential polls as he could not present his nomination papers Wednesday after electoral officials said he had failed to raise K1 million nomination fees.

Chibambo was expected to file his nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials on the third day of the exercise at the Chichiri International Conference Centre, popularly known as Comesa Hall, in Blantyre but announce he will not be able to contest.

MEC has announced that two independent presidential candidates, Damiano Ganiza and Sangwani Soko, are not presenting nomination papers, effectively ruling them out of the presidential race.

Petra  President Kamuzu Chibambo : Faile d to raise K1 million nomination fees
Petra President Kamuzu Chibambo : Faile d to raise K1 million nomination fees
Davis Katsonga: Submit his papers
Davis Katsonga: Submit his papers

MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said both candidates on Friday indicated they would not file nomination papers.

By Wednesday the number of contestants in the May 20 2014 presidential race reached at six following the presentation of papers by Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) president, former Malawi Speaker, Davis Chester Chatsonga.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika and United Independent Party (UIP) torch-bearer Helen Singh presented their papers on the first day of the exercise on Monday.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) counterpart Mark Katsonga Phiri presented their papers on Tuesday.

Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF) submitted his papers on Wednesday morning. He was followed by Katsonga.

Katsonga picked little known Godfrey Matenganya as his runningmate.

Speaking after submitting his papers and receiving a candidacy certificate from MEC chairperson Supreme Court Judge Maxon Mbendera, Chester Katsonga whose brother Mark Katsonga is also a candidate, pleaded with the electoral body to ensure a credible elections.

He said the only “fruit of democracy that Malawians enjoy is voting” therefore asking MEC to protect the vote, to protect the voter and to protect the outcome of the vote.

Katsonga warned that Malawians will not be taking fraudulent elections lying down, saying vote rigging would only happen if it was allowed by officials from the body overseeing May 20’s presidential election.

He said MEC should ensure the polls are run efficiently and avoid “dark corners” in vote counting.

MEC chairperson Mbendera said they had asked for electoral law amendment so that voting should be done from 6am to 4pm to avoid darkness but parliament failed to amend.

He however assured Katsonga that that MEC will borrow 10 500 gas lamps and 350 tents from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) during the May 20 Tripartite Elections.

Mbendera said the commission will use a mixture of the lamps and generators.

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