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By-elections: DPP, MCP battle

Some people suspected to be Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operatives are said to have ordered the arrest of two Malawi Congress Party (MCP) monitors Tuesday for allegedly carrying party materials.

The MCP duo of Emmanuel Thembachako and Alfred Jiya was placed as monitors at New State House polling centre.

A bail document which The Daily Times has seen shows that Thembachako and Jiya have been charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

According to Thembachako, the two went to Lilongwe City Centre to buy food. He said they, however, noticed a strange vehicle which he said had been following them. It later blocked their way along State House Road.

“When they came out, we noticed that they were fully armed. We then noticed one of them, whom we are sure is DPP Secretary General’s bodyguard, who is reported to have been sent back after his name was not found in all registration books. After some minutes of arguing, they searched our car and took everything they thought was connected to MCP before taking us to a police station,” he said

Police at State House referred us to Kawale Police Station. When contacted, Lilongwe Police publicist, Kingsley Dandaula, asked for more time to get facts of the matter.

But DPP Secretary General, Greselder Jeffrey, denied having any bodyguards and said the police would be better placed to identify the people.

“Do I have bodyguards? I am with my husband at Adventist and I don’t have any bodyguard. I thought it is the same media that wrote that I should not have any bodyguard? If you can ask the police, they can tell you who those people are,” she said.

Calm, business at LL City South, LL Msozi North

There were no major incidents in Lilongwe City South East Constituency, where MCP’s Ulemu Msungama and DPP’s Reuben Ngwenya and two independent candidates Ellen Kadango and Christopher Manja were competing for the parliamentary seat.

In Lilongwe Msozi North, where elections started with doubts over the ink being used, things started going on smoothly after the issue was resolved.

Our spot checks on polling stations in the afternoon of yesterday indicated that voters had an easy voting process as there was no need for queuing.

Lilongwe Msozi North had 31, 417 registered voters for the by-election.

The contest in the area was between Sosten Gwengwe of MCP and Bruno Daka of DPP.

Confusion, apathy at Mayani, Mtsiliza wards

At Phonde Primary School, in Mayani North Ward, some people were not allowed to vote following their failure to verify their names during voter register verification exercise.

Mec Presiding Officer, Arthur Jowati, said some people confused the National Identity Cards registration process with Mec’s verification excercise.

“Some people thought that once they registered for the national identity card, they also verified their names for voting. Today [yesterday], some are discovering that their names are not in the voters’ register,” Jowati said.

Three candidates were contesting in the ward: Nicholas Fackson Josiya of the DPP, Everister Ndaziona Kasina of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Benson William Lameck of the MCP.

Our visit revealed that there was low voter turnout. At Mphonde primary school for example, after six hours of voting, only 180 people out of 1,300 registered voters had cast their votes.

Low turnout was also noted at Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe, where Brighton Golobe Edward of UDF, Frank Zikaola of MCP and Juli Jumbe of DPP were competing.

The ward, which had two centres, Mwenera and Mtsiliza, had 11,621 registered voters.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Chimjeka.

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