As Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) continues to implement the electoral calendar for the May 2019 tripartite elections, in Karonga the nomination presentation exercise has started on a high note with pomp and peace.
A snap visit in the five centres showed that the process was being conducted in a very mature and orderly way with supporters singing and dancing to party and traditional songs.
Karonga district elections clerk Steven Ndau attributed this to fruits of a one day training that MEC organised last week for constituency returning officers (CRO) that equipped district elections supervisory team (DEST) with skills on how to go about the process in an impartial and professional way.
“These officers were told to allocate candidates different days and times to candidates so that they should avoid commotion and any related incident that may incite violence.
“And again, all candidates were advised to warn their supporters not to cause havoc to their political rivals but rather let every party escort their candidates in a violent free and peaceful way for the sake of our hard won democracy,” Ndau said.
Speaking after presenting his nomination papers Monday morning, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Member of Parliament for Karonga South constituency Reverend Malani Mtonga said he was happy that he had presented his forms that would enable him go for another five year term.
He said during his tenure as the area’s Member of Parliament he has initiated a number of developments, citing school blocks, boreholes and socio-economic development that have taken place such as Uliwa trading which according to him is one of the fastest growing trading centres in the lakeshore district.
In Karonga Central constituency, an area deemed to be a political violence hotspot and which was nicknamed Benghazi due to harsh political environment, the process also started peacefully with UTM’s shadow Member of Parliament Florence Nthakomwa presenting her papers on Tuesday at noon.
In an interview after she had successfully presented her forms, Nthakomwa said she has all it takes to battle it out with men in May and become the first ever female Parliamentarian for the area.
She added that she is the only hope for people’s needs in areas such as portable water, health care systems and good road network and her immediate focus will be on the welfare of youths, the elderly and women.
At 2pm, it was Alliance for democracy (AFORD) Karonga central Parliamentarian Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo who after presenting his papers preached peace.
He said time has come for Karonga to practice civilised politics and make history by avoiding politics of castigation and name calling but instead dwell much on issue based politics.
“2019 should be a year with a new political chapter as advised by Paramount Chief Kyungu and Bishop Martine Mtumbuka of Karonga diocese who has been instrumental in peace mediation talks process to Karonga aspiring candidates.
“This will be practiced during the whole campaign period up to the polling day. Everyone should be free to conduct campaign rallies everywhere in this country,” Mwenifumbo said.
In Karonga Nyungwe constituency, Lucy Mwafulirwa presented her papers on Tuesday morning on an independent ticket while DPP deputy regional governor for the North Smart Mwakayira presented his nomination papers and is ready to battle it out for the Local Government seat for Lupembe Ward on a DPP ticket.
However, the exercise could not go on without drama as aspiring Member of Parliament for Karonga North-West constituency Underson Mwayipinga surprised people when he submitted his nomination papers on a People’s Party (PP) ticket instead of Democratic People’s Congress (DEPECO), a party that brought him to the political arena.
The exercise started on Monday, February 4 and will end on Friday. Meanwhile, MEC has said it will not extend days for the nomination presentation exercise currently underway in all districts in Malawi including Presidential nominations at COMESA in Blantyre.