DPP did not support me—Mcheka Chilenje
By Isaac Salima
Former Nsanje North member of Parliament Esther Mcheka Chilenje has attributed her defeat in the March 31 parliamentary by-election to lack of support from her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
But DPP director of elections Henry Matemba has dismissed the claims.
Mcheka Chilenje lost the seat to Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s Enock Chizuzu in a tightly contested election.
“MCP came and camped in my constituency. Did you see DPP officials there? They only came last minute. It was like a competition between an individual and the whole party. Chizuzu did not campaign on his own while I was alone.
“In fact, you can see that the gap [between me and Chizuzu] is narrow because I tried and people in the constituency love me a lot,” Mcheka Chilenje said.
Chizuzu got 9,866 votes while Mcheka Chilenje amassed 8,081 votes.
Mcheka Chilenje, who has served the constituency for two five-year terms and two years, added that there were irregularities during the election but was quick to say she would not take action.
“I have accepted the defeat. Life will go on. I will continue doing my businesses a happy person, having served my constituency and as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly as well,” she said.
However, Matemba said the party supported its candidates during campaign.
“Party leaders campaigned in her constituency ahead of the parliamentary by-election. So, that is not true,” he said.
DPP lost three seats in the by-elections. In Nsanje Central, heavyweight Francis Kasaila lost to Kafandikhale Mandevana of MCP while the Karonga North seat, previously occupied by the late James Kamundi, went to UTM’s Felix Katwaff Kaira.
Only nine candidates were women out of 49 candidates that competed in the parliamentary and Local Government elections.
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