By Faith Kamtambe & Samuel Kalimira:
UTM primary elections which took place Thursday were marred by controversy.
In some constituencies, elections were postponed while, in others, some participants expressed dissatisfaction with how the elections were conducted.
In Lilongwe City West, former first lady Callista Mutharika was declared winner after competitor Clement Ndala withdrew, claiming the number of people who voted did not tally with the number of people who were expected to vote.
Some people queued to vote for Ndala while others queued to vote for Mutharika but controversy arose when followers of Ndala claimed that some party officials were mobilising people that queued to vote for Ndala to vote for Mutharika.
In an interview later, Ndala said he had decided not to take part because Mutharika had ferried people from Mitundu, which is in Lilongwe Msinja North.
“I have chosen not to participate in the elections until this is resolved. I intend to ask the organisers to rearrange this election,” she said.
In the end, one of the senior members of the party, Shakira Mtewa, said Mutharika had won with 1, 451 votes.
“Considering that there were 1,611 voters it meant Ndala got 160 votes as Mutharika had 1,451 votes,” she said.
One of the people who wanted to contest on the position of councillor for Mbidzi Ward, Herman Msowoya, after the officials declared that he lost, said ineligible people voted in the elections.
In Lilongwe City South East, the elections were postponed because presiding officers did not turn up.
The situation angered many people who said they had waited for eight hours to cast their vote.
One of aspirants, Levy Luwemba, said the elections were postponed because presiding officers did not know the venue of the elections.
“We were supposed to hold the primaries today but, due to logistical problems, the elections have been called off. We were supposed to have presiding officers but, unfortunately, those at the headquarters were not told of the exact place we were supposed to hold the elections,” he said.
In Blantyre City South primaries, Member of Parliament (MP) Allan Ngumuya lost to Mavuto Missi. Ngumuya got 162 votes while Missi got 253.
Ngumuya complained that his competitors connived to vote for Missi so that the MP loses
UTM regional governor for South, Steve Mikaya, defeated Katenga Kaunda in Blantyre City West. Felix Njawala beat Precious Magombo in Blantyre Kabula with 269 votes against 8 votes. Patricia Kaliati and Joseph Chidanti-Malunga went unopposed in Mulanje West and Nsanje South West respectively.
In Mzuzu City Constituency, there was chaos as three contenders each declared themselves winner.
The three were incumbent Member of Parliament Leonard Njikho, Mzuzu City Deputy Mayor Alexander Mwakikunga and businessperson Justice Chimaliro.
Presiding officials went missing after observing the chaos.
In Mzimba North East, incumbent parliamentarian Olipa Muyaba won unopposed.
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