UTM North Malawi primaries of tears, blood and sorrow

UTM Party, whose leader isVice-President Saulos Chilima,  on Thursday primary elections in the northern region  instead of a free and fair democratic ritual, the exercise in some parts became an ominous sign-post as violence, parallel structures and vote-buying took centre stage.

Mzuzu MP Leonard Njikho failed to win in the UTM primaries for the Mzuzu City after his supporters lifted him and whisked him away in jubilation before the votes were counted.
A UTM official leaves a polling station in Rumphi Central after being attacked
Dr Luwani Msowoya: UTM Karonga North West candidate

The primaries in Mzimba Solola will have a re-run following allegations by one of the contestants that there was massive delegate shopping in the process.

Sugzolane Kazomba Nyirenda and Beatirice Kumwenda are battling it out so they can stand on UTM ticket in this year’s tripartite elections, but Kumwenda accused Nyirenda of ferrying delegates from neighbouring Zambia.

“The delegates were not original,”said Kumwenda.

Pandemonium ensued at the centre at Manyamula following the revelation which forced the leaders to suspend the primaries.

Kumwenda said she would not allow the “nonsense” happen on her watch.

Nyirenda—formerly People’s Party—came third in the party’s primaries in 2014, but was handpicked by former President Joyce Banda as the party’s candidate.

But UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga rated the performance in primaries at over 90 percent, saying they were “a success despite minimal challenges.”

Mzimba Solola incumbent legislator is Jacob Hara of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and legacy has been marred by reports of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) abuses.

In Mzuzu there were will also be a   re-run the   after a chaotic and utterly dramatic turn of events held at Mbachenda Gardens in the City.

Independent presiding officer Tony Kanyika said they  failed to count the number of voters who rallied behind the three contestants; incumbent Mp Leonard Njikho,  Deputy  Mayor of Mzuzu City Alexander Mwakikunga and businessman Justice Chimaliro.

“We need a re-run,” said Kanyika.

Despite  being so close to winning the primaries evidenced by the hundreds who rallied behind him, the Mzuzu MP Leonard Njikho was betrayed by his  supporters who lifted him, and carried him off chanting victory songs, before Presiding officer could count the them.

Although Njikho tried to signal his zealous supporters to put him down and return to the lines, it was too late as the supporters  carried him straight to the stage were the presiding officers were while chanting “Jose, Jose.”

Then aspirant Alexander Mwakikunga  rushed to inform the media that he had withdrawn from the primaries and would contest as an independent candidate.

“ How can  you have a winner before votes are counted. I am withdrawing from these elections, I am contesting as an independent member. I am not contesting in UTM,  all this is useless. I am not going to be part of UTM, I will just support the Party,” Mwakikunga said.

But the drama did not end here as supporters of all three candidates then carried their Aspirants chanting their names  and marching around the place.

In Nkhata Bay South where incumbent MP Emily Chinthu-Phiri went unopposed, it was peaceful, just like in Nkhata Bay North where shadow MP Chrissy Kanyasko also went unopposed.

The primaries were postponed in Nkhata Bay Central, Nkhata Bay West and Nkhata Bay North West constituencies, according to  deputy district governor Simon Mkolongo.

“It was a bit chaotic in Nkhata Bay North West because we were supposed to have 1 900 delegates, but as many as 4 000 delegates came. It was so confusing that we couldn’t go on with the primaries because that meant we had people who were ineligible voters. We may conduct the primaries on Friday or Saturday,” said Mkolongo.

On Likoma Island, the primaries were shifted to January 8 2019 to accommodate a candidate who is currently in Lilongwe.

In Mzimba North East, Karonga Central and Chitipa Central, incumbent legislators Olipa Chiluba Muyaba, Lawrence Nthakomwa and Moses Mlenga, respectively, went unopposed while primaries for other areas in Mzimba were yet to be concluded by press time at 6pm.

Felix  Katwafu Mwakayira triumphed in Karonga North West while Luwani Msowoya, daughter to Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya, went unopposed in Karonga Nyungwe.

Meanwhile, political analyst George Phiri of the University of  Livingstonia in comments reported by the local press said the chaotic scenes in the party primaries as  a sign that many people want to join and represent UTM in the forthcoming polls.

“This shows that many people are interested in the party. What is wrong is the violence. People should know that in an election, one wins and others lose. So there has to be tolerance,” said Phiri.

UTM has defied all odds and held the elections in one day.

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A Tumbuka lecturer dies in a resthouse

Khalidwe la a tumbuka ndilomwe lawoneka kwa Njikholo. Anthu a phuma awa asiyeni azikong’onthana.

True, the northern vote is always the loosing vote. UTM came too soon, gone too soon too.

Ife a DPP tili pheeee zathu zinayera kale.

JJ Mbewe the pathfinder
JJ Mbewe the pathfinder
3 years ago

nanga a mutharika 80 years man alikuti , ma primaries avuta kwambiri Ku mangochi wachikalambile sakuoneka mpaka pano, dpp ikuta ilibe miezi ina isanu ulendo , ulamulilo wake watulo this is a country imafuna muntu watafu ngati chilima osati nkumangokala muo office chifukwa ulamulilo umafuna directing people and checking what is going on osati kumangokala ngati mukusamala ma kasitomala pabala

3 years ago

I dont understand this so called elections..how do you know and verify that the person voting is a membar of ur party and not another party..do pple have a membarship cards…no wonder so much fight and bloodshed

Alamu Pumani Mwakula kuba

Waste of time. Utm an off shoot of dpp won’t win.

3 years ago

If the party is more supported by northerners that is the sign of fail

3 years ago

Where is Chilima, Kaliati, Callista and Chidanti. Satiuza za momwe chisankho chayendera? Kwamti ziiiiiiiiiiiii. Mwazionatu a UTM. Kuzigwira ndi manja. Palibe ma Whatsup messages to share. If all was well mukanalimva phokoso lake lokhalo.

3 years ago

Which Malawian came up with this ridiculous method of lining up behind blindfolded candidates? There has been chaos at sll parties primaries and that is proof enough that the method is pathetic.

Delegates should be vetted and votr via ballots. The rest of the world does it, why not us?

JJ Mbewe the Pathfinder
JJ Mbewe the Pathfinder
3 years ago
Reply to  BigMan

KKKKK Big Man this came with MCP regime and i am surprised that even after the democracy we are still conducting this kind nonsense. i don’t like it either. It reminds those days of MCP torturing us.

3 years ago

Where is Chilima? Missing in action after the flop of UTM countrywide primaries? His loudmouth has been humbled.

Mlomwe Original
Mlomwe Original
3 years ago

Atumbuka kubalalika ngati UTM

3 years ago

Awa ndiye an amuna. In just one day scoring over 80% success record. Now I agree that “kuona fisi sikubadwa kale”. George Phiri of Livingstonia University has confirmed this.

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