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Mixed fortunes for sports personalities

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By Mphatso Malidadi & Williams Gondwa:

HEADING FOR DEFEAT—Katika

Anxiety has gripped local sports personalities as they await Malawi Electoral Commission’s (Mec) announcement of official results of the 2019 tripartite elections.

As Mec continued receiving results at the national tally centre, Comesa Hall, in Blantyre Thursday, some renowned sports personalities had already started early celebrations amid reports that they had won parliamentary seats whereas others are still in a state of shock and disbelief as regards the situation on the ground.

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Former Nyasa Big Bullets Chairperson, Noel Lipipa, was up against one of his players at the People’s Team, Fischer Kondowe, in a contest for the Blantyre City South parliamentary seat.

Former National Youth Football Association chairperson, Mabvuto Missi, was also vying for the same office.

Unofficial results indicated that Lipipa was leading before the officials started recounting the votes to balance figures.

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Well-known football commentator, Mike Bango, is also tipped to win the Kasungu North seat.

But other sports figures, including Malawi Boxing Association President Justice Katika of Blantyre Bangwe Constituency, former Wanderers chairperson Humphrey Mvula and ex- Bullets chairman Kondie Msungama seem to be headed for defeat.

Kondowe said he was not bitter after failing to claim the seat.

He said, much as losing the polls was disappointing, he was grateful to people who voted for him.

“Things did not work the way I thought they would but, all in all, I congratulate Mr Lipipa for winning. My advice to him is that he should prioritise development in the constituency. He should work hard to transform the constituency,” Kondowe said.

The former Flames right winger said he would return on the ballot in 2024 as he believes that there is a role he could play in Parliament.

“I still have time. Let us wait until 2024. It is difficult to make such a commitment while we are still in 2019 but I am ready to make another attempt,” Kondowe said.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed results indicate that former minister of sports, Grace Chiumia, has lost her Nkhata Bay West Constituency seat.

But former Be Forward Wanderers general secretary, Chipiliro Mpinganjira, has defeated former Bullets chairperson Kondi Msungama in the Blantyre City Central Constituency race.

Former Bullets treasurer Chifundo Makande has also emerged victorious in the Balaka Central East parliamentary contest while Wanderers trustees Chairperson, Rashid Gaffar, has lost his Blantyre Kabula parliamentary seat.

In the Chitipa East constituency poll, former Chess Association of Malawi president Kezzie Msukwa is geared to make a return.

Other sports personalities who contested for parliamentary seats are Malawi Olympic Committee General Secretary Jappie Mhango and former Malawi National Council of Sports board member Elliot Mankhamba.

Ntopwa owner and Team Manager, Isaac ‘Jomo’ Osman, contested as a councillor in Blantyre Bangwe.

Former Nyasa Big Bullets General Secretary, Higger Mkandawire, said it was not automatic that the sports figures would serve interests of sports once they make it to the august House.

“We have seen some former sports personalities who made it to Parliament but did not serve the interests of sports. So the onus will be upon them to show they can deliver and help develop the game,” Mkandawire said.

Former Flames team manager and defender, Clement Kafwafwa, said it would be difficult for the candidates to focus on sports alone.

“They are going to the Parliament based on their manifestos; so, if sports was not part of their manifesto, we should forget about them. However, we could ask them to work together regardless of their political differences and lobby for better sports policies,” Kafwafwa said.

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