Two weeks after the Karonga North constituency UTM campaign director Ishmael Pembamoto defected to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and promised to bring more members to the ruling party, he lived up to his promise Saturday afternoon when 83 constituency areas denounced their UTM party membership to join DPP.
Eighty three areas of 20 people per area translating to more than 1,600 people defected to the DPP.
Speaking at Kiwe ground in the area of traditional authority (TA) Kilupula, the constituency chairman for UTM Mike Kalambo said as a promise is said to be a credit, they decided to honour their promise made two weeks ago that more UTM members were on their way to DPP.
Kalambo said they decided to defect to DPP after noting that UTM leadership failed to level the playground for free, fair and credible primary elections on January 3 at Ngalamu primary school ground.
He added that their areas were never ferried to the venue to vote for their candidate and the polls went in favour of former cabinet minister in the DPP administration who is also sitting Member of Parliament for the area Vincent Ghambi.
“We are disgruntled with how we were treated during primary elections. Some of our delegates were left out deliberately to suffocate our voting powers. We failed to raise the issue with presiding officials and the next thing we saw was that Ghambi with his supporters were celebrating that they had won. That was undemocratic,” Kalambo said.
He further assured the DPP shadow Member of Parliament for the area Mungasulwa Mwambande of victory in the May 21 tripartite elections, saying the team that has joined him is comprised of scoring strikers who never miss their target.
Taking her turn, DPP’s Karonga North constituency governess Mwiza Nyirenda hailed the defectors for their wise decision for joining the DPP, saying it is the only party that has the welfare of people in the northern region.
“On behalf of the party’s politburo, let me warmly welcome you to the DPP. Let us work together as a family for the sake of development. Let us love one another and avoid backbiting, jealousy and envy and all sorts of things that can bring us down,” she said.
She further urged the DPP family to integrate their brothers and sisters’ political ideas and views and forget about issues that arise due to misunderstandings on party positions if the party is make it in the forthcoming elections.
On his part, the regional organizing secretary for the Northern Region who is also the shadow Member of Parliament for Karonga North constituency Mungasulwa Mwambande said he was extremely happy because the defection shows that the party’s democratic values and ideologies are making an impact.
He, however, advised the DPP’s 107 constituency areas to accommodate the 83 UTM area defectors and avoid politics of segregation for the sake of oneness and togetherness.
“Let us seal the constituency by being accommodative. Let us together go flat out and canvass for votes the DPP,” Mwambande said.
However, in an interview, UTM’s director of publicity Dr. Joseph Chidanti Malunga feigned ignorance about the defection of his party members to DPP.
Malunga, however, said if indeed it is true that some members have decided to switch posts then they are not true members of the party, saying if they were dissatisfied with primary elections as claimed, then they would have followed proper channels of lodging their complaints.
“I don’t think those were true UTM members. Had it been they were indeed genuine members who really believe in our values and ideologies they would have brought their issues to the party’s NEC members who could have banged their heads together and see how best those issues could have been resolved.
“However, the party is still intact and is geared to win the 2019 elections with members that are there. UTM is not about two or three individuals, so it matters less when few people leave the party as it is their constitutional right,” Malunga said.