By Serah Makondetsa:
Dedza East aspiring Member of Parliament (MP), Patrick Bandawe, has asked Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) to explain the rationale for its decision to declare incumbent Juliana Lunguzi winner of Sunday’s primary elections.
Bandawe was reacting to a statement which MCP, through publicity secretary, Maurice Munthali, released Monday declaring Lunguzi the winner, contrary to what was announced on election’s day.
In a statement, Bandawe threatens to seek legal redress if MCP does not, in 24 hours from Monday, explain to him the grounds for the party’s reversal of results.
“As such, I do pray that the party provides me with an explanation, within the next 24 hours, of how they came to the decision to declare Hon Ms Lunguzi as [the] winner of the MCP primary elections despite the voting, as confirmed at the constituency level and by the presiding officer who was duly assigned and trusted by the party HQ [headquarters].
“Failure of which [sic], I will be prompted to seek legal redress, especially [in] view of the fact that the party seemed to have a winner going into the elections,” reads Bandawe’s statement.Advertisement
On Sunday, presiding officer Peter Chalera declared Bandawe winner with 821 votes against 815 for Lunguzi.
However, Munthali says they arrived at the decision after discovering that there were more than two candidates who competed in the election yet figures for the other contestants were not reported.
The statement says the enquiry established that one of the candidates, who is alleged to have yielded insufficient votes, mobilised his supporters to support another candidate.
“The Directorate of Elections, therefore, recommended that the candidate be disqualified and his votes discounted together with the figures of the declared winner who was a primary beneficiary of the violation.
“For this reason, it is the resolution of the party that honourable Juliana Lunguzi is the legitimate winner of the Dedza East primaries, not only because she had the votes to win before other candidates colluded to manipulate the process, but also because our investigations show that she had no part in the collusion,” adds the statement.
Munthali further argues that the resolution reflects MCP’s belief and the commitment to rule of law and ending corruption which are some of the party’s pillars.
“This resolution reflects MCP’s belief in and commitment to rule of law, which is the fourth pillar of the “Chakwera High Five” the agenda that our President has prepared to roll out when he becomes Head of State in May 2019. It also demonstrates our commitment to uniting Malawi. The fifth pillar of that agenda, [is premised on] ensuring that women like honourable Lunguzi, who has been a stellar performer in Parliament, have an equal stake in the development agenda of Malawi,” it reads.
Other candidates who took part in the elections were Mussa M’bwana, Steven Biswick and David Kupemba. Voters from 31 out of 210 areas did not come for the elections.
Very few people stood behind Biswick, M’bwana and Kupempha. In the process, those who stood behind M’bwana joined Bandawe’s queue.
However, Bandawe wonders why MCP did not hear him out, let alone declare the elections null and void.
“I need clarification from MCP Headquarters as to why they are disproving the results by a presiding officer, who the party sent all the way from Lilongwe to conduct the elections. Does this not defeat the ends of both democracy and justice?
“Why has the whole MCP made a decision based on only one side of the story? While they have listened to Hon Lunguzi’s version of events, the party has not made an attempt to hear me out. As I issue this press statement, on Monday 3pm, the party has made no effort to reach out to me. What kind of justice is this?
“If the party felt that there were irregularities during the polls, why did it not declare the election null and void and order a re-run? What prophetic basis is the MCP using to determine that, if the 31 areas had taken part in the election, then Hon. Ms. Lunguzi would have won?” Bandawe says.
Lunguzi Monday said she felt vindicated that she was declared the winner.
“There were greater anomalies on the ground to the extent that people on one of the queues were not counted. I did not even need to lodge a complaint because the people who saw all this are my witnesses. I am glad that they went ahead and presented the issue as it was,” Lunguzi said.
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