By Joshua Mphanda, MEC Stringer
Save for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Lilongwe Msinja South constituency by-election is being dominated by freshman politicians who are promising development Jamboree that includes tarmac roads, cooperatives, new school blocks and even personal foundations.
Francis Belekanyama, 36, probably having advantage of standing for the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is defending the legacy of his departed father Lingson Belekanyama whose death has resulted in the 30 March by-election.
The young Belekanyama, however has to prove that he is better than four other fellow young candidates, three of whom, just like him, are running for the first time for this Lilongwe rural constituency.
Belekanyama and his rival during MCP elections Yamikani Chadza who is running as an independent, Lameck Kondesi another independent and the only lady Ruth Chatata who is running as an independent as well are all first timers trying their luck with people of Msinja South while DPP candidate Mustapha MacDonald believes voters would buy his development plans for the area.
Belekanyama who has started his campaign by donating an ambulance, launched a 1 million kwacha football bonanza and promises to start a foundation that will empower communities in the area including education, small scale businesses and support social welfare.
“My father worked hard for this area. I want to continue his legacy and build on what he had started under the leadership of His Excellency President Chakwera’s high five and I will make sure that people here benefit from the philosophy of prospering together by ensuring that development comes here,” said Belekanyama who is confident that MCP will retain the seat.
On the other hand, Chadza claims that the area’s development was uneven as some places lag behind in the constituency.
He claims projects were concentrated in one ward and that it his duty once elected to ensure that the constituency experiences development.
“I am for a new start and we thank those that were before us for their contributions to the constituency. As someone who has travelled widely, I have experience and knowledge to change this area. I am launching cooperatives that will empower the people to improve their income,” said Chadza.
The sole lady candidate Ruth Chatata says she will focus on improving livelihoods of the communities especially women and youth who are lagging behind.
She said: “I want people of Msinja South to have clean water, women and youth to access loans and improve their livelihood,” said Chatata who was self-assured of getting support from her fellow women and winning the election.”
The third independent candidate in the race is Lameck Kondesi. He says the main reason for joining the race is that he wants his constituency to experience genuine development.
The businessman cum-politician is confident of turning the tables as he turned up to present his nomination papers with hordes of supporters
“I will start with bridges to improve mobility so that our farmers here are able to take their produce to better markets. I hope people of Msinja South will give me a chance to serve them and change their lives,” said Kondesi who runs several businesses.
Mustapha MacDonald who is hoping for a second time is a charm now with voters in the race is confident that he will wrestle the constituency from the MCP.
“I have contested before and I know what people are lacking here. I hope they give me a chance to bring them development here,” said DPP aspirant MacDonald.
The five candidates presented their nominations papers on Monday and are waiting for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) approval whether they are eligible to contest.