PP supporters in violent clashes over primary elections

Police in Karonga have arrested five ruling Peoples Party supporters for various acts of violence and vandalism following the announcement of results for primary elections for the volatile Karonga Central Constituency on Sunday.

Karonga Police Station Officer in Charge Foster Mangani confirmed the development.

“I can confirm that we have arrested these people for causing disturbances,” Mangani told Nyasa Times on Monday.

Deputy Minister of Finance Doctor Cornelius Mwalwanda won the ruling Peoples Party primary elections for the Constituency beating former MP Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo by 165 votes to be the party’s torch bearer in the 2014 tripartite polls.

Irate supporters of Mwenefumbo chanting
Irate supporters of Mwenefumbo chanting
Mwenefumbo: Lost
Mwenefumbo: Lost

Mwalwanda amassed 6352 votes against Mwenifumbo’s 6187 in the bitterly fought elections.

Initially, the PP’s Returning Officers had declared Mwenifumbo the victor but a recalculation proved that there first results were fraudlen.

The skirmishes occurred a day after the two contestants publicly buried the hatchet during a press conference captured on both state controlled MBCTV and private media.

During the conference Mwenefumbo conceded defeat and pledged to work with Mwalwanda “for the good of the PP”

Both also denounced violence by their supporters promising that their reconciliation would transcend to their supporters hence an end to violence.

At the meeting Mwenefumbo said there was need for him and Mwalwanda to conduct joint meeting at ward level to inform PP supporters of the outcomes of the elections and the ‘peace conference”

However, on Monday unidentified PP supporters at Mwenilondo (Mwenefumbo’s home area) blocked the M1 road to Chitipa, Karonga and Tanzania with logs, stones and tree branches protesting that Mwalwanda stole the vote.

Ironically, at Mwenilondo centre, Mwenefumbo scooped 2500 votes the highest by far attained in all the 15 centres.

Fives houses at Mwenilondo including one belonging to Reverend Nkhonjera of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia were reportedly vandalised.

At Mlare one house for Mwalwanda’s worker had its roof removed by irate supporters.

Mwalwanda expressed ignorance on the seemingly spontaneous and sporadic acts of violence saying he is still committed to the pledge for peace.

“Whose stronghold is it where many houses have been vandalised?” he queried.

While Mwenefumbo said he does not own people despite many publicly challenging that they were sponsored and organised by him.

“Those are PP supporters and when Mwalwanda continue saying they are my people then he is wrong. He has failed to pacify the situation hence people are disenchanted,” claimed Mwenefumbo who despite saying he will support Mwalwanda seems to act differently by continue to play politics against his rival.

PP acting Secretary General Paul Maulidi said PP does not condone violence even by its followers saying it believes in peaceful co-existence and the rule of law.

“Those who want violence should leave and practice it elsewhere. Where there is violence it will not matter what post you hold in the party, the law will take its course and the party will also discipline you. In Blantyre, the party’s Director of Women lost her post because of engaging in violence,” he said.

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