UTM candidate triumphs in Karonga Northwest by-election

UTM Party candidate Felix Katwaff Kaira has emerged victorious in the Karonga Northwest by-election.

Karonga District Returning Officer who is also the acting District Commissioner David Gondwe has announced the unofficial results for Karonga Northwest by-election results that have gone in favour of Kaira who has won with 9, 537 followed by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Daniel Mwanyongo Chitonya who has been given 9, 207.

The final result came a bit late following delays to ferry the results from Rukulu polling centre to Maghemo nerve centre due to bad state of the road that became impassable after a heavy downfall yesterday.

Gondwe (L) signing for results at Maghemo Tally Centre-Photograph by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

There were 53, 231 eligible registered voters who had a choice from the eight contesting candidates.

Out of the 53, 231 voters, only 25, 689 voters turned up to cast their votes representing about 49.9 percent with 136 votes declared null and void.

The low turnout was due to rains that disrupted the electorate’s moment to polling centres.

However, voters who were interviewed yesterday said they decided to shun the polls due to frustrations as most politicians fail to implement what they promise during campaign.

Speaking immediately after casting her vote yesterday at Chisambilo polling centre, Esther Mwambira said her expectation is that her vote will bring potable water, electricity, good road network and bridges.

In an interview, Gondwe hailed political party leaders and candidates for conducting free, fair and credible elections whose results have been accepted by all stakeholders, saying that shows that Malawi’s democracy has matured.

UTM Party national publicity secretary Frank Mwenifumbo said the victory means a lot to the party and the trust that the people of Karonga Northwest has towards UTM party.

He said: “This win tells us that the party is popular and trusted to Malawians, Karonga Northwest constituency in particular”.

A Mzuzu based political commentator George Phiri has, however, attributed the low turnout to politicians reluctance on development once elected into power.

“Voters deserve recognition once they usher into power any elected leader. Their expectations are huge. Unfortunately, the trend has been the opposite whereby voters are only remembered during elections and dumped soon after attaining the seat,” he said.

Phiri has since urged elected leaders to walk the talk if voter’s hopes are to be revitalised.

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese Dest officer Luis Nkhata whose office partnered traditional leaders and the clergy in voter and civic education through a MESEREOR Germany project said the obligation to restore the voter-elected leaders working relation lies in the hands of politicians by simply implementing campaign promises.

“This voter apathy derails development as it can easily influence undeserved person to win. However, for the trend to change, it requires those elected to give back to voters through social amenities,” he said.

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