Race against time. With just 15 days to go before the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) conducts the by-election in Karonga Northwest Constituency, it was a busy Sunday for the eight candidates and their political cronies who crisscrossed the area, scrambling for votes from the electorates.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign team leader Alfred Mwenifumbo over the weekend organised about 16 campaign rallies where senior party members sold their candidate Daniel Mwanyongo Chitonya.
According to Mwenifumbo, the intensification of rallies was aimed at canvassing votes from potential voters, saying time is of great essence.
In an interview on Sunday after interacting with voters at Chisambilo and Bwiba primary school grounds, MCP regional chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said the only way Karonga Township can develop is to vote for Chitonya whom he described as well-educated with vast work experience and development conscience.
He said: “If you look at Karonga district, it is blessed with various agricultural activities ranging from rice, maize, bananas, cotton and cassava to cattle and fishing. This is what Chitonya studied. And again, he is well connected that he will use his own initiative to lure partners to bring various developments such as portable water, health centres and school blocks on top of the development funds”.
Elsewhere, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was at Baka primary school where the DPP presidential hopeful Joseph Mwanamvekha was joined by the party’s purse keeper Jappie Mhango and its regional governor (North) Ackim Mwanza to drum up support for their candidate, Lusubilo Kamwambi.
Speaking to the media, Mwanamvekha said Kamwambi was the only potential candidate in the area who will continue with development work his brother, James Kamwambi left before he succumbed to Covid 19 in February.
Mwanamvekha used the rally to discredit the Tonse Alliance government, saying they have failed to deliver their manifestos during the nine months it has been in government.
He said this is the reason why the DPP is hopeful of bouncing back in 2025 and this by-election will be a litmus test for the party to weigh its capability and potential.
He said: “Vote for Kamwambi who is humble and has the key to development. He will continue from where his brother left. Don’t vote for failures who have not lived to their promises. They promised you three meals a day, 1 million jobs and duty free week but they have done nothing to date”.
There was no immediate comment from government as government spokesperon Gospel Kazako asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) was at Mbande school ground where its regional governor (N) Denis Mhone represented AFORD President Enoch Chihana and used a K1 million Fwasani Silungwe football and netball bonanza to garner support for the party’s candidate, Silungwe.
An independent candidate Anderson Mwaipinga was at Kasikizi, Ipyana, Kabwiri and Mwangata where he told voters to vote for him for road infrastructure to improve in the constituency.
Eight Parliamentary candidates will contest on March 30 and about 51, 000 voters are expected to cast their votes.