Political dimension took a new twist on Saturday in Karonga Central Constituency when two major political allies in Tonse Alliance, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party, preached different messages to their supporters in the run up to the forthcoming by-election billed for November 10, 2020.
UTM Party failed to put its house in order before it scheduled its primary elections at Mwenilondo primary school due to differences that arose between candidates and political party leadership that forced one of the contestants Florence Shackie Nthakomwa to withdraw from the race at the eleventh hour due to what she said lack of intraparty democracy and creation of fake structures.
MCP had its two candidates who battled it out during primary elections few weeks ago, shared the same political campaign podium at Chinsogholo primary school in a bid to canvass votes.
In an interview, MCP second vice President for the North Harry Mkandawire, commended Ellium Simwaka for the political maturity and statesmanship shown, saying it is rare in politics for a losing candidate in primaries to swallow their pride and support the other candidate.
Said Mkandawire: “As a party we are glad that the two candidates have united for one purpose, to ‘consolidate and strengthen’ the party to increase our chances of retaining the seat. We commend Simwaka for this because we have sealed loopholes of splitting votes”.
In another interview, Simwaka confirmed the development and has since pledged his full support to Mwalwanda and the party in its effort to reclaim the seat which fell vacant after the demise of MCP’s Cornelius Mwalwanda few months ago.
“For the sake of the party and that of its President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, I have decided to endorse Mwalwanda so that he gets the mandate to develop this area,” Simwaka said.
On his part, Mwalwanda said his focus will be on issue based campaign that will dwell much on emphasizing development needs of constituents.
He said: “Four things remain my key focus areas. I want people to have food throughout the year, better schools with enough teaching and learning materials, health facilities that are stocked with essential drugs and portable water”.
Mwalwanda has since urged the youth not to be used by greedy politicians to incite violence, saying dynamics of politics have changed, citing the sudden U-turn of Simwaka to support his candidature.
Meanwhile, UTM Party director of Elections Bright Kawaga has endorsed Frank Mwenifumbo as its torchbearer following the withdrawal of Nthakomwa who pulled out of the race after the party had allegedly failed to solve her concerns.
Speaking in an interview, Kawaga said following the withdrawal of Nthakomwa, he was mandated to endorse Mwenifumbo to represent the party during the by-elections, a move a renowned political commentator Sherif Kayisi described as detrimental, saying if the other candidate decides to contest as an independent candidate then the party’s votes will split, thereby narrowing UTM’ chances of winning.