PP primaries creating parallel party structures: Call for fresh polls in Nkhatabay

The on-going People’s Party (PP) parliamentary primary elections have created cracks within, prompting some officials to start creating parallel structures to support each other during the forthcoming 2014 Tripartite elections.

According to some party National Governing Council (NGC) members from all the four provinces, the main aim is to counter candidates who have been put in some constituencies by those who are in good books with President Joyce Banda to topple sitting MPs.

“We have raised our dissatisfaction both at party official meetings and as individuals but it seemed we have been communicating to deaf ears,” a senior official told Nyasa Times.

According to the official, one of the tactics being used by Banda’s inner circle is to allow everyone in the constituency to vote instead of using the area representatives as it is normally done.

Maulidi:  Internal fights
Maulidi: Internal fights

The Malawi congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are using a specific whereby a required number of representative are chosen from the area structures to vote for their constituency shadow MP.

According to another source, the recent NGC meeting which was held at Kamuzu Palace ended without a solution because of the disagreements on primary elections.

This was also followed by the Central Province meeting held some days ago which nearly ended in fights as they failed to reach a consensus on some issue concerning the primaries.

The other tactic, according to a Northern Province top official, was the President’s directive to give government development programs to candidates supported by the party even though there is a PP MP in a particular constituency.

“Projects such as Mudzi Transformation Program and Presidential Initiative on hunger and poverty are being run by other people other than the sitting MP,” he said.

According to the sources, the parallel structures are aimed at giving campaign support to MPs who are being ‘tortured’.

The source said: “We will work together as independents during the campaign, we will give each other the required support and we will make sure that we prove those that have been lying to the President wrong.

“We are going to ignore the accord which we were forced to sign which states that no loser should stand as an independent, we are determined to be a strong block.”

The parallel team has both sitting MPs, top party officials and ordinary citizens.

In the central region 25 aspiring candidates including presidential adviser Elias Wakuda Kamanga, Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa, Minister of Environment Halima Daudi and several Cabinet ministers, have sailed through primary elections unopposed.

Others are journalist Happy Saka who seeks to represent PP in Dowa North Constituency and civil society activist Rodgers Newa in Kasungu North West Constituency.

Meanwhile, disgruntled aspirants for the Nkhata Bay West Constituency have ganged up and are asking the party for fresh elections.

The three male contestants, Clement Kesau Manda, Stonard Moses Chisamba and Chrispin Chanju Mphande are citing several irregularities from the use of ghost voters and the party’s involvement in propping up the sole women victor.

Mzuzu University Assistant Registrar Mercy Kaunda became the Party’s torch bearer after flooring the trio; Kaunda scooped 2451 votes, Mphande 1554, Manda 653 and Chisamba 663.

In a petition co- signed by the trio, a copy seen by Nyasa Times, the losing Aspirants said the conduct of the elections was fraudlent.

“It is a given fact that PP is willing to have more women representation both at local government and parliament levels but the women must win fairly and not be propped up by party machinery,” reads part of the petition.

They allege that Kaunda solely appointed all presiding officers, delivered all the ballot papers and that at Mapale Centre gave herself 350 votes when the total number of registered voters is below 120.

PP Acting Secretary General Paul Maulidi said the party is investigating the alleged irregularities.

“We have already sent some officials there to probe,” Maulidi said.

Governance commentator Chris Chisoni said the development was an indication of lack of intraparty democracy as it indicated rubber-stamping or a culture of fear in the ruling party.

He observed that “PP is assuming that it is only PP supporters who will make their candidates win.”—(Reporting by Chancy Namadzunda and additional reporting by Collins Mtika, Nyasa Times)

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