The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has echoed the need for the nine shadow candidates for the forthcoming by-election scheduled for March 30 in Karonga Northwest constituency to observe peace and dwell on issue based campaign.
MEC Commissioner Anthony Mukumbwa made the emphasis on Monday when the Commission received nomination forms from candidates at Maghemo secondary school hall.
After receiving nomination papers from all the candidates, the Commissioner said MEC expects all political party leaders including candidates to avoid use of foul language during campaign trails and incite political violence that can discredit the election’s results and credibility.
“Our expectations are high from both political party leaders and candidates. After receiving their nomination forms, they will go to voters to campaign. Let them do that peacefully without castigating each other. Let them outdo each other with development agenda.
“They should remember that democracy without peace is meaningless and an election without peace cannot be credible. Therefore, peace begins with candidates and political parties. Above all, they should observe Covid-19 preventive measures,” he said.
Surprisingly, the pomp that characterised the event overshadowed Covid-19 preventive measures as most supporters that escorted their candidates were seen loaded in tracks without observing social distance and with no face masks.
However, all the nine Parliamentary candidates that included three independent candidates Harry Mwanyembe, Dr. Shawo Mwakilama and Anderson Mwayipinga outsmarted each other on how they will develop Karonga district once ushered into power.
The centre of attraction was the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM Party, Democratic Progress Party (DPP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) who immediately after presenting their papers brought Karonga town to a standstill when they paraded their candidates in the constituency to canvass for votes.
Speaking to the media after its candidate had presented papers, Leadership with Compassion Party (LCP) president Dr. Sally Kumwenda said people should vote for their youthful candidate, Promise Kaunda.
She said: “Time has come for the area to have a youthful and visionary candidate who is ready to listen to peoples’ challenges”.
While MCP’s Daniel Mwanyongo simply dwelled much on potable water, feeder road network, health services, schools and revamping agriculture.
DPP’s Lusubilo Kamwambi, UDF’s Kasunga Mwenindeka, UTM Party Katwafu Kayira and AFORD’s Fwasani Silungwe separately said Karonga Northwest constituency is the heart of the district as such it requires good roads, drainage system, good markets and potable water.
However, if the low voter registration and verification of names in the voter’s roll is anything to go by, there will be voter apathy in the area if electoral stakeholders will not intensify mobilization and awareness campaigns.
About 51, 000 voters are expected to cast their votes on March 30 to replace the DPP legislature James Kamwambi who succumbed to Covid-19 last month.