Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Saturday called off primary elections in Jessie Kabwila’s Salima North West constituency citing logistical challenges.
The primaries were expected to be held at Nkombozi School ground in the constituency.
This is the second time primaries in the area have been postponed following another postponement in September.
The party said it will announce new date for the polls after officials from both the region and district make recommendations.
Presiding officers for the polls, Member of Parliament for Mchinji South West Deus Gumba Banda and Nkhotakota South East legislator Makuwa Mwale, said people from all 109 areas were not present at the venue to take part in the voting hence the postponement.
“As presiding officers we decided to cancel the elections because we found no one from the areas to take part in the voting, even one of the aspirants was not present, “Gumba Banda said.
He further said that for the elections to be transparent and accountable they were supposed to work with a committee which organizes eligible voters from the area but the committee was not there as well to conduct the primary polls.
However, Kabwila said the committee was dissolved by party officials from the region and the district levels.
She expressed disappointment at how party officials from the region and district are treating her and the primary polls saying they are taking MCP members for granted forgetting it is the same people who wake up in the morning to vote for them.
“The behaviour of party officials from the region and the district will influence people to lose trust in not only us from the constituency but the whole family of MCP as a party,” she said.
She then urged the officials to give chance to MCP members from the areas alone to choose a candidate of their choice through the primary elections and not siding with a person of their choice.
Kabwila further accused officials from region level and the district of favouring her opponent Enock Phale to the extent that he managed to divert trucks which were supposed to ferry people from the areas to the venue of the primary elections.
Commenting on the cancelling of the primary polls, one of the businessmen from the constituency Kondwani Chima said it is high time that MCP must put its house in order for it to win in next year’s tripartite polls.
Chima said Salima North West is a stronghold of MCP and if officials do not consider resolving the in-house problems other parties will make the constituency the stronghold in 2019 polls.
He observed that the party officials are divided in supporting the incumbent MP and her opponent which he said is good for democracy but not healthy for the party to win in next year’s polls.