Versatile politician and ex-lawmaker, Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo, has been named shadow parliamentarian for Karonga Central constituency unopposed ahead of the November 10 by-election after his rival, Florence Nthakomwa, failed to show up.
The primaries, held at Mwenilondo Primary School–Mwenifumbo’s backyard–were graced by hundreds of UTM party senior officials and enthusiasts including the party’s regional governor, Moses Mulenga.
But the primaries have been marred with great speculation with many saying that Mwenifumbo’s endorsement was pre-arranged.
Among others, some supporters who spoke to Nyasa Times said the battleground for the primaries was not levelled.
“It was quite strange that even before the primaries we could see the party giving substantial support to Mwenifumbo and not Nthakomwa. The resources were there, and the official vehicle for the district governor was always there and not anywhere Nthakomwa. There was something fishy with all this,” said Steven Mpighu.
According to Mpighu, UTM’s district intra-party differences between Mwenifumbo and Nthakomwa will have an edge on them claiming the seat as they will give chance to MCP’s rival Leonard Mwalwanda.
Said Mpighu: “In the MCP camp those that were competing against each other during primaries have united with Eliam Simwaka supporting Mwalwanda. For UTM Party it is divisions and divisions. Do you think they can win like that?”
However, Victoria Mbemba, said she saw nothing wrong with what happened prior and during the primaries.
“Nthakomwa was hardly proactive while Mwenifumbo was. And, to a great extent she would have come for the primaries on the date set by the party. Now that she did not appear she has disappointed many, especially we women,” said Mbemba.
But speaking during a rally later at Lupembe Primary School grounds, Mwenifumbo told supporters that he was poised to be the next parliamentarian for the constituency.