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Presidential candidates reflect on losses

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By Feston Malekezo:

Days after Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared Peter Mutharika as the winner of the tightly contested presidential race, three other candidates have given mixed views on their next move.

The Daily Times spoke to United Party’s John Chisi, independent candidate Reverend Hadwick Kaliya and Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD), who earned the least votes in the election.

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Kaliya sounded frustrated with the outcome of the elections which saw Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) retaining the post with 38.58 percent of the votes.

“Twenty-twenty-four [year for the next tripartite elections] is a long way to go. There are several things that will happen along the way. And it is quite surprising that you are calling me now because, throughout the campaign period, you [The Daily Times] never called me,” he said.

“Let us just accept that the President is Peter Mutharika. There is nothing we can talk about 2024. I am not even dreaming of contesting in 2024. I am a business person and have to concentrate on my business. I have things to do and take care of. Anybody thinking of contesting now is out of his mind.”

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At least the electorate voted for Kaliya who got 15, 726 votes, representing 0.21 percent of the total votes cast whereas Kuwani finished second from bottom with 20,360 votes, representing 0.40 percent.

Kuwani said there were hard lessons he learnt from the polls.

“We concede we have lost but it is pleasing that some people voted for us and let me extend my warm wishes to the winning candidate. The lesson we have learnt is that, in the next elections, we need representation of aspiring members of Parliament and councillors in all constituencies and wards in the country. This was a blow to us during the just ended election because the party solely looked up to me for campaign,” he said

Chisi, who bagged 19,187 votes representing 0.31 percent, attributed his loss to lack of grassroots structures.

“If you are not on the ground, you cannot win. You and the other people who voted for me understand that the country needs new strategies and change. It is, therefore, the party that has to decide whether I have to contest again. You also have to understand that elections need a lot of things, money inclusive,” he said.

Mec declared Mutharika winner of the controversial elections whose results Malawi Congress Party disputed.

Third placed Saulos Chilima of UTM has also asked the High Court to nullify the results due to irregularities.

Up to 6, 859, 570 registered to vote in the elections.

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