The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has expressed worry with its aspiring candidates in Chikwawa who are abandoning the party’s grassroots structures while campaigning to represent the party as Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors in the upcoming elections.
Deputy constituency governor for DPP in Chikwawa Nkombedzi Constituency Patrick Muliya expressed concern as aspirants in the constituency have intensified campaign ahead of the party’s primary elections.
According to Muliya the tendency of some aspirants of isolating committee members of the constituency to work with has created divisions in the party. Muliya said there are divisions among constituency leaders on who to support to become shadow MPs and councillors for the upcoming elections which he feared might give room to opposition candidates.
“It is like we have been split as a party with the conduct of some aspirants who have come between us. It would have been proper for the aspirants to embrace all of us in their campaign. This can weaken the party’s structures if nothing is done”, Muliya said.
On his part, Ben Khuleya who is set to battle it out with the incumbent MP for the constituency at the party’s primary elections acknowledged that it is not possible for the aspirants to have same supporters of the party. Khuleya said the divisions are to be settled after the party conducts its primaries when all the aspirants are to rally behind the one who shall be declared winner.
“This is a competition in which all of us are fighting for the same followers of the party. The followers of the party are going to differ indeed on who they would like to represent them as an MP. The divisions are to be resolved once the primaries are over when we all are to support the one who is to emerge winner among us,” Khuleya said.
However, regional governor for the DPP in the south Charles Mchacha said the party has not received any reports of divisions at its grassroots. Mchacha urged all aspirants of the party to embrace the party’s structure at the grassroots as they are campaigning.
“As a party we shall make sure we level the playing field for all candidates in the primary elections. DPP shall hold the most ever free and fair primary elections in this country “, Mchacha said.
However, political analyst Rafique Hajat has warned political parties in the country that unless they acquire the qualities of political maturity, tolerance and understanding, primary elections in the country shall continue to be violent and chaotic.
At its July convention, President Peter Mutharika after being voted to be the party’s torch bearer for 2019 elections, announced that the party is to conduct primary elections in the months of August and September. However, the party is yet to announce the date for the primary elections.