By Serah Makondetsa:
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM will face off in almost all constituencies in the country in a parliamentary race during May 21 Tripartite Elections.
According to a statement issued Thursday evening by Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec), DPP has fielded Member of Parliament candidates in 192 constituencies out of 193 constituencies, representing 99.5 percent.
MCP has fielded 189 candidates, representing 97.9 percent while UTM has fielded 191 candidates, representing 99 percent.
DPP has not fielded a candidate in Mangochi Lutende Constituency.
DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi could not give an immediate comment on the development.
“Let me consult, I will come back to you,” he said.
MCP has not fielded candidates in Mzimba South West, Thyolo South West, Mulanje North and Chikwawa North.
MCP publicity secretary Maurice Munthali said the party has tangible reasons for not fielding candidates in those four constituencies.
“In one constituency, our Member of Parliament withdrew to pave way for Honourable Khumbo Kachali. In Mulanje North, the nomination fee was paid late but we are trying to sort it out with Mec.
“And in the other two constituencies, the people withdrew on personal grounds, so we could not force them to contest on MCP ticket,” he said.
Munthali was confident that the candidates fielded by the party in the 189 constituencies will perform well.
“Suffice to say all the candidates we have fielded in the 189 constituencies are strong and they will get through the elections victorious,” he said.
In its maiden election, UTM has not fielded candidates in Mangochi Lutende Constituency and Mchinji North-East Constituency.
UTM publicity secretary could not pick up his mobile phones.
United Democratic Front (UDF) has fielded 124 candidates and the party’s publicity secretary Ken Ndanga said the party is being strategic.
“We are just being strategic and that works well with our plans,” he said.
Immediate former ruling People’s Party (PP) has fielded 81 candidates.
The party’s spokesperson Ackson Kalaile Banda said the party tried to field candidates in all constituencies but they faced problems.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based political analysts Mustapha Hussein and Ernest Thindwa said the coming elections will be competitive.
“Those are high numbers although none has fielded a total of 193 but the numbers are very high and we can describe the competition as very stiff, the stiffness will be complicated by independents who are many in number and some of the independents might have come from parties due to frustrations after the primaries so, despite the competition by various parties, the independents will also play a role,” Hussein said.
Thindwa said while the competition will be stiff, the voting patterns will remain on region basis.
“You would expect that DPP, being a ruling party, would have fielded parliamentary candidates in all constituencies, this shows that they are not popular in other parts of the country. MCP has this time gone to all regions, this is a good development for the party. For UTM, it was expected.
“However, the voting patterns will not significantly change, the parties will eventually do well in the regions they are strong in. despite fielding candidates in almost all areas, the voting patterns will remain the same,” Thindwa said.
Among others, Mec has recorded 501 independent candidates, Alliance for Democracy has fielded nine candidates, Mbakuwaku Movement for Development has fielded one candidate and Umodzi Party (UP) has fielded six candidates.
According to results in the 2014 elections, independents dominated parliamentary elections amassing 52 seats from 192 that were being competed for on May 20.
Parties shared the rest of the seats with DPP leading with 50 seats, MCP 48, PP secured 26, UDF got 14 while Chipani Cha Fuko and Aford got a seat each.
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