By-elections: Nice bitter with Ganda, Sitolo
WITH few days to go before the much-talked by-elections in various constituencies and wards, the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) has expressed its bitterness with the tendency by some candidates who shun their public debates.
This comes hot on the heels of news that Democratic Progressive Party candidate for Nsanje Lalanje Constituency Gladys Ganda has so far shunned two public debates organised by Nice officials on Thursday and Friday last week in Nsanje Lalanje.
Also missing on the second day of the debate on Friday was Lawrence Sitolo of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) due to what the party officials and his team said tight schedule.
The debates, according to Nice are meant to give an opportunity to candidates to avail themselves to the electorate in areas of what they will do in promoting and championing development, including law making for a parliamentarian.
Ganda confirmed that she would attend the debates, according to Nice, but was not present, a development that a democracy and good governance expert, Enoch Chinkhuntha, who is also Southern Region Manager for Nice described as missed opportunity for Ganda to detail her passion for development once elected.
“We invited all the parties and they confirmed that they would attend. We are surprised that she has not attended the debates. This speaks volumes of how she will deal with challenges communities face,” Chinkhuntha said.
He said it could have been important for Sitolo to attend the second debate too so that voters get to know him more.
“All in all the patronage has been good during the debates and we are sure that voters now know who to vote for. We will continue having these debates so that the electorate makes the right decision when voting,” Chinkhuntha said.
At a time of the debate, especially on Thursday, Ganda was seen around the debate area at Kalemba Primary School in Bangula, but did not attend. Candidates who attended the parliamentary debate on Thursday are Sitolo of MCP and independent candidate Winnie Wakudyanaye.
During the Friday debate held at Phokera in Nsanje, it was only Wakudyanaye, who showed up and said she was up to bringing development to the whole constituency without looking at political lines.
Efforts to get Ganda’s side of the story proved futile as her phone was not reachable, despite other reports indicating that she was part of the campaign team organised by the DPP on the stated days.
Political commentators say the by-elections in Nsanje Lalanje are a must win for MCP, with others, saying it is a litmus test for the main opposition with the joining of Sidik Mia in recent months. In an interview, Mia said he is doing all he could so that the party wins the seat.
“I am confident that we will win the seat because we have put all efforts together as MCP so that our candidate wins,” he said. According to Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah, who was present during the Thursday debate, there is need for voters to choose right candidates in the byelections.
“I cannot comment on those that fail to show up to the debates ahead of the byelections because it was Nice who organised the debate,” he said. Major issues that arose during the debates included the need to have better schools, health facilities and roads for development sake.
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