By-elections litmus test for parties


The October 17 by-elections are set to be a litmus test for political parties’ stamina as the nation saunters towards the 2019 tripartite elections.

University of Livingstonia Social Commentator Chikumbusko Kayira in an interview recently said the outcome of the elections will certainly inform the campaign strategies for the parties as the main tripartite polls draw close.

“As 2019 fast approaches, the political scenes will keep changing, parties and their members are repositioning and internal campaigns are getting intense, so these by-elections remain one of the most crucial pools where parties will gauge their strengths,” Kayira said.


Democrat Progressive Party (DPP) would want to retain its two seats in the South and also show that it is making inroads in the Central Region ahead of the next tripartite elections.

Of particular interest, DPP would want to prove that the victory of its candidate, Bentley Namasasu, was not a fluke despite the irregularities that compelled the Supreme Court to nullify the elections.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will be going into the by-elections to assert that Central Region is still its stronghold and at the same time attempt to prove that it is making inroads in the South if it grabs the vacancies in the region.


This will also bean opportunity for the MCP’s new catch, Sidik Mia, to bag one constituency in the Shire Valley as a precursor that his move to the main opposition party might pay dividends in 2019.

People’s Party remains indefinable if it will contest considering its recent show-ups during MCP rallies.

Stakeholders will also be watching if United Democratic Front will also field its own candidates considering its partnership with DPP.

Mec postponed the by-elections on April 20 in four areas citing the government’s failure to provide funding, an issue which Treasury confirmed, saying that funding for the polls had been diverted to life-saving activities.

Since then two areas, Nsanje Lalanje Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Balntyre have fallen vacant and the commission has taken them abode in the October 17 by-elections.

The other by-elections will be held in Lilongwe Nsozi North and Lilongwe City South East constituencies and in Mayani North in Dedza and Mtsiliza in Lilongwe wards.

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