DPP accused of using chiefs in campaign


VILLAGE headmen in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency have complained that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is using senior chiefs in the Central Region to force them to campaign for its candidate in the October 17 by election.

In the by-election, which is being held following the death of a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament Highton Jiya early this year, DPP’s Bruno Daka is contesting against Sosten Gwengwe of the MCP.

The Sunday Times understands DPP Vice president Hetherwick Ntaba, has been moving around the constituency with Senior Chief Lukwa and Traditional Authority Mwase of Kasungu as well as Senior Chief Chadza, campaigning for Daka. It is further understood that all village headmen have been given notebooks to write names of prospective voters.


“They started distributing the notebooks on Monday. They say each village headman should write at least 20 names of voters. They are telling us that we should also not be attending Gwengwe’s rallies. They are saying if we will vote for Gwengwe, they will remove us from our positions. That’s what they are stressing. But how do we convince people to vote for a particular candidate? We are not politicians,” said one of the headmen, who added Senior Chief Tsabango of Lilongwe attended one of the first meetings.

Apart from the said chiefs, there are other chiefs from Dedza who have also been visiting the constituency.  But Senior Chief Chadza has said all chiefs who have been visiting the area are not involved in politics.

“Those chiefs were just visiting me. In my area, there are structures that are put in place if at all there are complaints. I have not received a complaint from any village headman. On the notebooks being mentioned, they are for a different purpose. We would like to know the number of people in the villages,” Chadza said.


In another interview on Friday Senior Chief Lukwa dismissed the issue.  “I am not in Lilongwe. I am in Kasungu at the moment. I am not involved in politics,” he said.

Likewise, Traditional Authority Mwase denied any involvement in the campaign.  Chief Tsabango asked to be called later, but did not pick our subsequent calls.  In an interview yesterday, Ntaba admitted that there are chiefs from the other districts who have been going to the constituency.

“I know there are some chiefs from other districts who are explaining to fellow chiefs in the constituency a number of issues. Some are coming from Dedza, others are coming from Kasungu. I don’t think having chiefs from other districts to assist their counterparts in making a decision is wrong.

Even the MCP candidate is involving the chiefs in his campaign. I therefore don’t think the presence of chiefs in our meetings is irregular. I wouldn’t call that intimidation,” Ntaba said.

He said the party is only doing its campaign.  “We are not intimidating anyone. Those who say are being intimidated should come in the open. I am DPP vice president. I am only campaigning for our candidate. In the campaign, we are meeting our prospective voters: teachers, chiefs and many others,” Ntaba said.

But MCP Director of Elections in the Central Region Richard Chimwendo Banda said it is worrisome that village headmen are being intimidated.

“We don’t have problems with chiefs attending political rallies. But we have problems when they are being given notebooks to write names of voters. We have a problem when they are being told that they will lose their positions once they vote for a Malawi Congress Party candidate. They should not intimidate the village headmen,” Chimwendo Banda said.

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