The opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has stated that its electoral alliance with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not bar the two parties from featuring candidates in each other’s strongholds during by elections.
Speaking during an interview on Thursday, UDF Secretary General Kandi Padambo reiterated that the alliance his party had with the DPP was mainly during the 2020 fresh presidential elections.
He was reacting to concerns raised by some commentators questioning the DPP’s decision to field a candidate in Chikwawa East constituency whose previous sitting MP has been a UDF candidate.
The commentators argued that the DPP should have considered supporting former Parliamentarian for the area, Rodrick Khumbanyiwa, whose victory was nullified by the courts.
Padambo, however, said the two parties are back at the drawing board where they are trying to revive their grassroots structures adding that it is a must therefore for the two parties to be participating in parliamentary and ward council elections. He said such being the case, it would be inevitable for the parties to compete against each other on the ground.
He, however, said in some instances the two parties may agree to feature one candidate to maximize the chances of one candidate among the two parties to win but he noted that such an arrangement is upon mutual understanding between the two parties and it is never mandatory.
“Just like we have been saying, our alliance with the DPP was mainly during the 2020 fresh presidential elections. After that period each party is now strengthening its grassroot structures. Even the leaders for the two parties have also been emphasizing this.
“It is therefore necessary for each party to be testing their strength on the ground by participating in by- elections. It can be almost inevitable for the two parties to compete against each other on the ground,” said Padambo.
His remarks came amid stiff competition between the UDF candidate for Chikwawa East Rodrick Khumbanyiwa and his DPP counterpart Ginnford Maulidi.
Ironically the UDF candidate in Nsanje central, Laston Saidi Katole, has withdrawn from the parliamentary race in order to support the DPP candidate for the area Francis Kasaila to retain his post which was also nulified by the court.
Efforts to get DPP side on the matter proved futile as its spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said he needed some time to comment on the matter but did not pick phone calls later on despite several attempts.
MEC will hold by-elections in Chikwawa East, Nsanje Central and Nsanje North Constituencies on the 30th March after the courts nullified the 2019 parliamentary results for these areas due to widespread irregularities.
In Zomba Changalume, Ntchisi North, Lilongwe Msinja South, Karonga North West Constituencies and Liviridzi ward in Balaka and Chitakale ward in Mulanje the by elections shall be held following death of their representatives.