DPP to hold primaries re-run in Mulanje North, Nsanje Lalanje, Neno South, Chikwawa West, Nsanje South, Chikwawa Nkombezi, Thyolo South West, Phalombe South, Mulanje West and Blantyre City West after massive irregularities.

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold re-run primary elections in several constituencies in Southern Region where there were alleged irregularities, resulting in serious internal disputes.

Naknhumwa: The meeting was meant to find a common ground among contestants

The affected constituencies include Mulanje North, Nsanje Lalanje, Neno South, Chikwawa West, Nsanje South, Chikwawa Nkombezi, Thyolo Southwest, Phalombe South, Mulanje West and Blantyre City West.

DPP vice president for southern region Kondwani Nankhumwa held a consultative meeting, on Wednesday, January 2 2019, with district and constituency committee members from the affected constituencies “to map out the way forward” in addressing the current disputes.

There will certainly be re-run primary elections in some constituencies where there is overwhelming evidence of irregularities. The media was recently awash with reports of primaries disputes in constituencies under reference. DPP has set rules, standards and regulations that guide us when conducting primary elections.

“When we did our investigations, we found out that some of the rules and regulations were seriously flouted,” said Nankhumwa, adding that the meeting at DPP regional headquarters in Blantyre was meant to find a common ground among contestants so that when the re-run primaries are held no-one is in doubt as regards the fairness of the process.

Nankhumwa disclosed that the party intends to conduct these fresh primary elections on January 9 2019 in order to ensure that winning candidates have ample time to prepare before they present their nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

“Free, transparent and fair primaries are a prerequisite for the DPP in order that we indeed win the May 19, 2019 elections with a landslide. We ought to field candidates that have been chosen by the people instead of candidates that buy their way to the DPP candidacy. Elections are a central feature of democracy. For elections to express the will of the electorate, they must be free and fair.

“The process must be void of corruption, deceit and intimidation if we are indeed a democratic and progressive political establishment,” said Nankhumwa, who is also Local Government and Rural Development minister, MP for Mulanje central and Leader of the House in Parliament.

However, Nankhumwa said the party will not hold re-run primaries in all constituencies above. He said the meeting in Blantyre would discuss amicable ways of addressing the prevailing concerns “that are not very serious in nature”.

DPP regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, urged all contestants and their supporters to exercise tolerance and co-exist as children of one DPP family.

“There is only one winner in any contest. When one loses, it does not mean it is the end of life; life goes on. There are other opportunities that one can take up having lost party primaries,” said Mchacha, who is also Homeland Security deputy minister and MP for Thyolo West.

Blantyre City West is the most controversial constituency where most DPP supporters are disputing incumbent Tarsizio Gowelo’s victory against former parliamentarian Bertha Masiku.

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