By Madalitso Musa & Audrey Kapalamula:
The 2019 tripartite elections will go down in history as the moment Malawians forgot names, popularity and stature of politicians when electing leaders.
At least 18 veterans and other political giants have so far lost parliamentary elections if unofficial results are anything to go by.
Leading the pack of casualties is United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi, who has lost Machinga North East Constituency to unheralded Richard Kalitendere, who contested as an independent candidate.
Muluzi had been member of Parliament (MP) since 2004. He was, however, quick to accept defeat and pledged to support Kalitendere.
Another giant to have fallen along the way is Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Henry Mussa who lost Chiradzulu East Constituency to Joseph Namale.
“I wish the winner well. This is what democracy is all about,” Mussa said in his concession of defeat.
In Nkhotakota South Constituency, DPP secretary general, Gresselder Jeffrey, was shown the exit by Blainex Kaisi who carted 13,592 votes against Jeffrey’s 12,549 in unofficial results from all 36 polling centres.
As if to outclass each other, Jean Kalilani, who had been Dowa Central MP since 2009, was trailing Darlington Harawa while Uladi Mussa was also playing catch up in the Salima South Parliamentary race to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Christopher Manja.
In Karonga Central Constituency, according to unofficial results, Frank Mwenifumbo lost to rival Cornelious Mwalwanda.
Mwenifumbo, who is UDF’s Muluzi’s running mate, conceded defeat and said he would concentrate on his business.
“I wish the people of my constituency well,” he said.
UTM also has had prominent members, most of whom members of the party’s National Governing Council, losing in the elections.
Some of the notable names to have lost are Jessie Kabwila who, unofficial results show, has lost to Enock Phale of MCP by 11, 513 votes to 6,503 in Salima North West’s 22 centres.
UTM secretary general, Patricia Kaliati, also lost Mulanje West after occupying the seat in 1999. UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti-Malunga also lost in Nsanje West. UTM’s Lucius Banda also lost his Balaka North Constituency seat.
In Lilongwe City South West, former parliamentarian Nancy Tembo was leading against MCP’s Rhino Chiphiko and other candidates.
It was, however, good news to some former MPs who are likely to make it back to the House. In Dowa South East, MCP’s Halima Daud Wednesday took an unassailable lead against other contenders, including immediate former MP Harry Njoka Chimpeni and Louis Nyirenda of UTM.
In Dowa West, former parliamentarian Abel Kayembe was also leading against immediate former MP Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi while, in Dowa Ngala Constituency, independent candidate, Arthur Mavuto Sungitsa was leading against MCP director of elections Elias Chakwera.
Political analyst Mustapha Hussein said the development was an indication of a maturing democracy.
“This just shows that the power is with the people. I am sure that there are so many things they were looking for. What is emerging should not come as a surprise. It is the beauty of democracy. My appeal is that these people winning should learn quickly. They should tap knowledge from people who were there,” Hussein said.
Some of the heavyweight who have lost are UDF’s Abubaker M’baya (Mangochi East) and Lilian Patel (Mangochi South).— Additional reporting by Juliet Chirwa and Collings Kalivute, Mec stringers