Former Chikwawa East parliamentarian, Ragson Kamunda Chirwa, who was contesting in the 30 March by-elections on an independent ticket, has withdrawn his candidature and has endorsed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)s aspirant for the area Ginford Maulidi.
Chirwa, who won the seat on independent ticket in 2009 and later joined DPP, announced his U-turn on Sunday at Phimbi primary school ground when the DPP aspirant Maulidi launched his campaign bid for the upcoming by elections.
He said even though he has been competing in the race as an independent candidate, he has been a loyal member for the DPP and as such he would not want to continue splitting votes among party supporters. Chirwa also contested during the 2019 Tripartite elections on an independent ticket having failed to retain his position in 2014 under the DPP when he lost to the immediate past MP for the area Rodrick Khumbanyiwa of UDF.
The former MP added that apart from wanting the area to be won by a DPP parliamentarian, he has confidence that Maulidi has the capacity to develop the area.
“You know even though I became a DPP MP for the area but I won on an independent ticket. It really pains most of us who have been loyal members for the party that no candidate has won the elections in this area under the DPP ticket. It could be our chance for the party this time around to produce an MP for its own. That’s why I thought I should help in consolidating DPP votes for the area.
“I have confidence in the DPP aspirant that he is going fulfil people’s aspirations in the area,” said Chirwa.
On his part, Maulidi said the endorsement has helped to strengthen his candidature and that he is confident he is going to claim the seat as he came second during the 2019 tripartite elections after losing by only 200 votes to Rodrick Khumbanyiwa who was declared winner.
On the other hand, MCP aspirant for the area Foster Thipiwa who successfully challenged Rodrick Khumbanyiwa’s victory in court said the area lags behind in terms of development as past leaders neglected it hence its high time he was given a chance to develop the area.
However, Rodrick Khumbanyiwa whose 2019 victory was nullified by the courts on grounds of irregularities insists he won the elections rightfull. Speaking at a campaign rally he held on Sunday in Group Village Headman Chagambatuka’s area, he said he is confident he is going to return his position.
Meanwhile, major competing political parties in the by-elections in Chikwawa are yet to back their candidates’ campaign bid.
Both Regional Governor for DPP in the south Charles Mchacha and his Malawi Congress Party counterpart, Peter Simbi confirmed in separate interviews that they have delayed hitting the ground with campaign trail due to other logistical issues saying they are going to hit the ground soon.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) opened campaign period on 15 February in seven constituencies and two wards where it shall be holding by elections on the 30th March and the campaign is expected to end on the 28 February.