UTM daylong primaries to be managed by non-politicians

Maize scandal

UTM says its primary elections which will be held on the same day countrywide will be managed by non-politicians.

The party announced on Monday that primary elections for all aspiring candidates in all the 193 parliamentary constituencies and 462 local government wards be held on 3rd January 2019 across all constituencies and wards.

According to a statement released after the party held its first National Executive Committee (NEC) in Lilongwe, aspiring MPs will be required to pay a non-refundable nomination fee of K50000 while Councillors will pay K20000.

The NEC also created a special committee to manage the elections.

UTM Publicity Secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the committee will be chaired by UTM Director of Elections Paul Chibingu but the rest of its members will be non-politicians.

The committee will ensure fairness and neutrality and that the part encounters less challenges.

Malunga batted away concerns that the arrangement will lead to chaos saying most challenges during primaries emerge because parties have their preferred candidates.

Said Malunga: “It is all about how they are managed because mostly it is a choice of candidates against what the people want. So, if you cross these boundaries is when conflicts arise. We are going to hear what people want.”

Meanwhile, commentators have advised UTM to learn from the mistakes of other parties if the polls are to be a success.