The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has completed the list of candidates for the March 30 Karonga Northwest constituency by-election following the primary elections the party conducted on Friday at Karonga Teachers’ Training College where 539 delegates elected their preferred candidate.
The battle between Daniel Chitonya Mwanyongo and Abraham Mwakhwawa saw the former winning convincingly with 436 votes against the latter who amassed 94 votes with nine votes declared null and void votes.
In an interview, Presidential Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs who is also the party’s deputy director of legal affairs Maxwell Thyolera said as a leader of delegation he was glad that the primary secret polls were peaceful, free and fair whose results were accepted by all contesting candidates and delegates.
He said: “The process before, during and after the primary election was orderly, peaceful and open. That has led to free, fair and credible elections.
“We are glad because the losing candidate has conceded defeat and was the first to hug and congratulate the winner and has since pledged to support his friend, we commend that. Now our focus will be to intensify campaign to canvass for votes for Mwanyongo on the polling day”.
In an interview, Mwanyongo commended all stakeholders for a peaceful election that gave delegates a rare opportunity to choose their preferred candidate to demonstrate MCP’s mature intraparty democracy.
However, his contender Mwakhwawa bitterly conceded defeat, saying he was never given ample time to sell himself to potential delegates.
He said: “I have conceded defeat in a gentleman’s manner for the sake of peace and love for the party. The play field was not leveled as I was only given a single day to campaign to delegates. This should never happen again otherwise I will support Chitonya throughout campaign to seal victory,” he said.
However, MCP Karonga district chairperson Emmanuel Nkhoma brushed aside Mwakhwawa’s claims, saying those are ‘kicks of a dying horse’.
“Let him concede defeat and forge ahead. At every race there is always one winner. These primary elections were postponed twice in order to give both candidates room to campaign freely. Therefore, claiming that he was given one day to campaign is just a lame excuse,” he said.
As it is, five Parliamentary candidates are ready to sort it out to fill the vacant seat namely; AFORD’s Fwasani Silungwe, independent candidate Dr. Shawo Mwakilama, UTM Party’s Katwafu Kayira, Chitonya Mwanyongo of MCP and DPP’s Lusubili Kamwambi who is a young brother to the late James Kamwambi who died last month at Chitipa District Hospital of covid 19.
Meanwhile, candidates are expected to present their nomination papers to MEC on Monday, March 8 after fulfilling all necessary requirements that include nomination fees payable at FDH bank.