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Petitioners win court battles, lose elections

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It is tough luck for all the three aspirant members of Parliament who dragged Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) to court over 2019 parliamentary election results as they have all failed to win seats in the December 15 by-election.

Simeon Harrison in Mangochi West, Martin Nyengo from Mangochi North East and Promise Salima of Phalombe North Constituency petitioned the courts to nullify election results on the premise of irregularities that marred the May 21 2019 parliamentary election.

However, when Mec Chairperson Chifundo Kachale Wednesday officially declared Ruben Kanyama, Idi Kalosi and Mabvuto Bokosi winners of elections in the three constituencies, the court battle winners were on the losing side.

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In Mangochi West, independent candidate Ruben Kanyama made it with 5,648 votes while Simeon Harrison, another independent, won his ticket to the august House with 5,636 votes.

Geoffrey Chiwondo of DPP got 1952 votes, Stanley Phiri of UTM got 166 votes while Richard Banda, independent, got 53 votes.

In Mangochi North East, United Democratic Front candidate Idi Kalosi has retained the seat with 9,890 votes. Martin Nyengo got 9,093 votes while Duncan Cassim got 185 votes. He won the seat in the 2019 elections before the election results were nullified.

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In Phalombe North Constituency, independent Mabvuto Bokosi has made it with 8,256 votes while Justin Mokowa of UTM got 3,804 votes.

Promise Salima, another independent candidate, got 3,049 votes while Godwin Lipita got 934 votes. Esther Kazembe of MCP came last with 52 votes.

Declaring the results, Kachale decried low women participation in elected positions.

The chairperson noted that, sadly, two women withdrew from the race, describing the development as “worrisome”.

“The commission is concerned with an increasing number of women candidates that dropped out of the parliamentary race. We are fully aware that it is within their right and freedom to do so voluntarily but this happened at a time when everyone is concerned with the dwindling number of women holding elected positions. It cannot be let go without a comment.

“For this by-election, all the two women candidates in Mangochi West withdrew from the race, making it an all-men race. Their withdrawals came after they had even vetted the ballot paper templates. Political parties need to take stronger positive strides in supporting women to contest as candidates than just speaking about it,” he said.

But Kachale said he was happy that voter turnout was more impressive than in previous by-elections.

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