Newly registered UTM has announced that its ambitious primary elections conducted in all the 193 parliamentary constituencies and 462 local government wards simultaneously this Tursday on January 3 will not have candidates blindfolded as is traditionally done.
But the party has rescheduled the Mchinji polls to Saturday.
UTM, which prides itself as taking a transformative approach to politics, says voters will still have to queue behind their preferred candifdates in the primaries.
“Out candidates will not be blindfolded and they will follow events thus avoiding scenarios where some feel cheated,” said UTM director of publicity Joseph Chidanti Malunga.
“As a party, we will ensure that the primary elections are free, fair and credible. UTM as a party, will not influence the results of the votes or manipulate the results in favour of any candidate,” he said.
He said the Mchinji primaries polls have been put on hold after aspirants and district officials asked for more time to prepare for the highly contentious UTM primary elections.
In Salima south west, UTM’s new member, maverick Jessie Kabwila who has just defected from the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) faces Moses Buwa, a candidate whom she could have faced in MCP primary elections but defected to UTM after the polls in the constituency were postponed twice and he got frustrated.
Speaking at a rally addressed by UTM president Saulos Chilima and Njerwa in Lilongwe, Kabwila asked the party officials managing the primaries to ensure “transparency” and “credibility” in the polls.
She said most of the conflicts happening in other parties are arising from the fact that the parties have already endorsed their preferred candidates and not necessarily those that the people on the ground want.
Kabwila said UTM needs to learn from the challenges that other parties have been facing in their primaries, pointing out that they cannot endorse candidates against the people’s preferences in respective constituencies and wards.
She said people in her constituency want to align themselves with Chilima because he is a leader who has a passion to liberate them from poverty and hunger they have been facing for too long in the district.
In Karonga North, Vincent Ghambi who defected from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a few months ago was at the centre of controversy after some aspirants accused him of deliberately delaying the venue for the primary elections.
Ghambi however trashed the accusations, saying he was not responsible for organizing electoral colleges and venue for the party polls.
Political commentators yesterday cautioned UTM to tread carefully with their decision of holding all the primaries at once with tripartite elections in less than five months.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :