Phalombe, Mangochi by-elections: DPP’s Nankhumwa must bask in silent glory

On Tuesday, December 15, 2020, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) held three parliamentary by-elections: one in Phalombe North Constituency in Phalombe district, another one in Mangochi West Constituency in Mangochi district and another one in Mangochi North East Constituency in the same district.

DPP’s Nankhumwa and regional governor Chalres Mchacha introduce Bokosi (c) 

In Mangochi West Constituency an independent candidate Reuben Kanyama won with 5,648 seconded by another independent candidate, Simeon Harrison who got 5,636 votes. In Phalombe it is also another independent, Mabvuto Bokosi, who has won with 8,256 votes followed by Justin Samuel Mokowa of UTM with 3,804.

Idi Kalosi of the United Democratic Front (UDF) won Mangochi North East Constituency with 9,898 followed by an independent candidate, Martin Chikati Nyengo who got 9,093 votes.

These by-elections came about as a result of court determinations after losing candidates complained of massive irregularities in the aftermath of the May 2019 tripartite elections. The courts ruled that fresh elections must be held in the constituencies under question, which is why we are here.

The DPP identified and sponsored Kanyama in Mangochi West Constituency as its candidate in the by-elections there whilst its parliamentary candidate in the 2019 elections in the same constituency, Geoffrey Meleka Mark Chiwondo defected to UTM and was subsequently nominated to represent the party in these by-elections.

Something similar also happened for the DPP in Phalombe North Constituency where the party’s candidate before High Court nullified the 2019 results, Anna Kachikho announced her retirement and said she would not be participating in the by-elections. DPP had to identify a new candidate to represent its interests in the by-elections.

Primary elections were held there and Bokosi emerged winner.  Unfortunately MEC interpreted the court ruling as meaning that all candidates must revert to their original status, which meant that the candidates that DPP identified in Mangochi West and Phalombe North constituencies must revert and stand as independents in the by-elections in order to comply with the court ruling.  It was akin to resetting the clock back to factory settings.

Although this was  the case, the returning to ‘factory settings’ was only done on paper [due to the court ruling] but the reality was that Kanyama represented DPP interests in Mangochi West constituency whilst Bokosi represented DPP interests in Phalombe North  Constituency. What this means is that DPP candidates have won in Mangochi West and Phalombe North constituencies, and when we complete this with the fact that Idi Kalosi of UDF has retained his Mangochi North East seat, it means the results have not substantially changed from the May 2019 outcomes.

It also means that DPP has successfully defended its territory in Mangochi and Phalombe despite changing its representatives. In fact, going by the number of votes the candidates have amassed this time, the party’s popularity could be surging.

In a season where so many so called political pundits were quick to write the party’s epitaph; that it has no leadership; that it is dead and buried, and that its future is murky, the current turn of events are telling a different story and could be a snapshot of the heartbeat of the nation in the current political context.

This scenario means DPP is not a forgone conclusion and a yesterday story like what some quarters made people to believe. It means DPP is still a force to be reckoned with and a party to watch in 2025.

What so many people have failed to notice is that the current Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, who is also DPP Vice President for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has now epitomized the party’s leadership left right and centre, He has been the constant figurehead and perhaps the only one who has prevented the party from committing suicide following its electoral loss on June 23.

Apart from providing exceptional leadership in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition by holding the Tonse Alliance government accountable on its key promises like the Affordable Input Program (AIP); one million jobs; three meals a day; free electricity and water connections and others, Nankhumwa has displayed great amount of zeal and energy to steer the DPP ship to safer waters.

It is not a secret that he is the only Vice President among the party  four vice presidents from all political regions of the party who is investing efforts to ensure that the party remains relevant to the country’s body politic by commenting and providing guidance to government on key national issues such as Covid-19; the economy, among others.

Nankhumwa has often steered away from petty internal shadowboxing and consistently instilled hope among followers of the party across the nation.

Despite facing scary moments like when the party attempted to fire him as Leader of the Opposition in favour of Francis Kasaila, and even attempted to remove him as Vice President for the South in favour of Joseph Mwanamveka, Nankhumwa has remained relentless and steadfast to keep the party afloat.

He has crisscrossed the country meeting party leaders and the grassroots to strengthen the party and to ensure that its supporters rally around its vision. Everywhere he goes, he tells supporters to respect and support Professor Peter Mutharika as President of the party and also as former President of this country. He is also the only Vice President who has campaigned vigorously for the candidates that have just won the Tuesday’s by-elections, including providing his personal resources so that they emerge victorious.

Two weeks ago, he was quoted in Phalombe saying he would do everything in his power to ensure that Bokosi wins the Phalombe North parliamentary by-elections. The DPP has won the two by-elections because of the leadership that Nankhumwa has been able to provide.

The cool and measured demeanour with which he has gone about communicating APM and DPP’s vision to the followers of the party is perhaps one of the leadership traits that have made him the darling of most DPP supporters and preferred among the crop that has so far shown interest to lead the party when APM finally departs the stage.

In as much as there are still challenges and a lot of outstanding issues to surmount in order to bring back the DPP to its former glory, Nankhumwa is consistently proving that DPP may not be orphaned when APM finally retires from the party’s presidency.

  • Kelvin Masambo is a Lilongwe-based social and political commentator. His views are not the views of Nyasa Times

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Mpakateni
5 months ago

It depends on who you marry. If SKC decides to break away from Tonse and team up with DPP and UDF, do you think MCP will stanmd a chance even if the rest of other parties remain with it? Please don’t jump into a conclusion before you make proper analysis of the political situation. The way I see MCP blundering, I do not see UTM maintaining its marriage with MCP? SKC is very unpredicatable. He may fool you today because he is not making any comments on the blunders MCP and LMC are making. He will one day wake up… Read more »

Pachalo
Pachalo
5 months ago

DPP winning in Phalombe is not news…just like MCP or UTM winning in Dowa and Ntcheu respectively! For Mangochi being a district in the South and a former UDF stronghold either DPP or UDF will continue to carry the day. The issue here is ..50%+1! With the Norths 13% and the Centrals 43% the South has no chance! Gone are the days when Southern based parties would rule the whole Malawi depending on Lhomwe and Yao votes! Only Bingu in 2009 got 65% but the rest were 30 something percent! No wonder DPP and UDF never wanted 50%+1. Ifeyo phe!… Read more »

kaumphawi
kaumphawi
5 months ago
Reply to  Pachalo

remember that not all 43 percent in The central region represent people from the centre. Lilongwe is the capital and people there are from all walks of life. If you want a more realistic idea just analyse by tribe. Malawi seems to use more of that.

Wilkork
Wilkork
5 months ago

We really need a strong opposition, paja anthu Ife tinapenyatu

Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba

MCP should not waste time in Lomwe districts since the people there still have a hang over of power and they cannot believe that all is gone. It will take more than 10 years for them to realise that APM will not longer come back. Nankhumwa (MSCE 39 points) does not appeal to the rest of Malawians. 50%+1 is an atomic bomb that finished dpp just like it did by forcing Japan to surrender.

Just
Just
5 months ago

50 plus one is the same one that will take MCP out. we all know MCP won because of UTM and it is a failed marriage.

Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba
Reply to  Just

Never! DPP will never come back. Full stop. You also partnered with udf and miserably failed.

Last edited 5 months ago by Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba
Zabweka
Zabweka
5 months ago

Musatumbwe apa inu a MCP, mwayiwala zoti UTM ndi mwana wa DPP. Kodi Chilima atangolengeza kuti wabwelera ku DPP ndipo ayima ngati pulezident, simuzikozela inu? Pano muli mkati kunyoza UTM yomwe inakukwezani mu mtengo, Tiyatsa moto pansi pa mtengo tiwone ngati simudumpha mu mtengo mokwezedwamo.

Ngulenje wa Ngulenje
Ngulenje wa Ngulenje
5 months ago
Reply to  Zabweka

Kkkkkkkkk my friend the day Chilima will announce of.joining DPP it’s the day he will loose the northern vote. No one in the North can vote for anyone associated with DPP period

Pewani
Pewani
5 months ago

Nankhumwa is educated as compared to Bakili Muluzi who was a graduate of Primary School. So if Bakili did it what can make Nankhumwa fail? Musamakhale ngati simukudziwa history ya Malawi.

Zio ine
Zio ine
5 months ago

Mcp promises their candidate who they asked not to stand I Mangochi that she will be sent to tanzania

National Ceo
National Ceo
5 months ago
Reply to  Zio ine

Poor game plan is always costly.

Zanga phees
Zanga phees
5 months ago

Next president come 2025

nyarugwe
nyarugwe
5 months ago
Reply to  Zanga phees

DPP executive have already disqualified Nankhumwa as its future presidential candidate

James Banda
James Banda
5 months ago

These results should no surprise anyone just like the one in Kalonga and Lilongwe did not. MCP defended those seats. Before Mwalwanda died the constituency was under MCP. The same thing has happened in Mangochi and Phalombe. Since 1994 MCP has done well in Southern region. Give as a proper analysis!!!! The country remain divided between DPP south and MCP center of course East is just as good as South.

Bibo
Bibo
5 months ago

They will just be winning in those areas at parliamentary level until Jesus comes, no presidency at national level kkk

Kast
Kast
5 months ago
Reply to  Bibo

hehe 50 plus one muli mmadzi

Chipapwiche
Chipapwiche
5 months ago

Too early to celebrate these are independent candidates and could move to any party in the Tonse Govt any time be UTM or MCP, it is matter of time. Just pray hard that that the one you claim is basking with pride silently will not collapse and the UTM/MCP will have the last laugh and a loud one kkkk

Peter
Peter
5 months ago

Will come back strong

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