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Democratic Progressive Party stifles aspirants

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Two years before the next tripartite elections, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has warned chiefs against allowing parliamentary aspirants to hold political meetings in the areas where there is the party’s sitting Member of Parliament (MP).

The party has since said all people that are interested to contest on the party’s ticket should wait for the campaign period to open, saying the party is currently comfortable with the current crop of parliamentarians.

Eastern Region Governor, Julius Paipi, said this at Malembo Primary School ground in Mangochi when MP for the area, Geoffrey Meleka Chiwondo, launched a K1.5 million sports trophy for Malembo Ward.

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The development, however, has received criticism from a renowned political analyst who has described the DPP’s move as bad for the growth of intraparty democracy as well as the country’s democracy in general.

Paipi said the party is concerned about reports that some chiefs in the region are working with opposition and other shadow parliamentarians, a development which he said is against the party’s strategy for the forthcoming elections.

“Today, I want to talk to you chiefs. We have information that you are allowing some shadow MPs to hold rallies in your areas. Let me clear it here that the DPP does not recognise any shadow MP or councillor at the moment. We are happy with the current MPs and we don’t want other people to challenge and disturb them,” he said.

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In an interview after the rally, Paipi reiterated his party’s stand saying the agreement at the moment is to limit people from contesting against DPP sitting MPs, emphasizing that anybody doing the contrary is not a DPP member.

“You are aware that we are also working with the UDF [United Democratic Front], so this arrangement also applies in constituencies with sitting UDF MPs. If we go there to hold rallies, we are advised to first seek permission from the UDF MP for that area so that he might also attend the rally,” Paipi said.

But political analyst, Joseph Chunga, has faulted the DPP’s stand, saying what the party is doing is a sign that the party is undemocratic such that it does not want to promote democracy within its rank and file.

Chunga said showing interest to contest for the party does not require time limit hence, people are free to do whatever they want to present and position themselves to voters without being given time limitations by the party they wish to represent.

“You can’t stop people from showing interest. This is undemocratic because what it means is that the DPP wants to impose a sitting MP on the people. I thought by now political parties could have learnt a lesson that the increase of independent MPs in Parliament is a sign that voters become disgruntled with giving them candidates during elections,” he said.

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