By Mathews Kasanda:
Two candidates, who were set to contest under the UTM ticket in the forthcoming by-elections slated for November 5, have notified Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) that they will contest independently.
This follows a decision by the party to withdraw from the race on grounds that the electoral body cannot be trusted and that it does not have the “legitimacy and competency”.
The two candidates are Shadreck Mvula who is competing on the seat of Member of Parliament in Lilongwe South Constituency and Samson Phinifolo vying for the seat of Councillor in Kasungu, Matenje Ward.
Meanwhile, Mec has issued a statement notifying the public of the changes.
“Following these developments, the commission wishes to advise all registered voters in the two areas and the general public that the affiliation of the candidates has been revised,” reads the statement signed by Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika.
On October 18, UTM issued a statement announcing that it had withdrawn from the by-elections.
The party’s publicist Joseph Chidanti Malunga also held a press conference in Lilongwe yesterday stressing that UTM could not contest in an election.
He indicated that they cannot contest in an election which is going to be managed by a body that is being challenged in court on issues relating to how the previous presidential elections were managed.
Following statement, Malunga said: “We have a case in court, and one of the respondents is Malawi Electoral Commission in the manner they handled the May 21 elections.
“We have so many issues against them, the case in court has not been concluded, so we think it is not correct that we have a case with the electoral commission on one hand and on another they come around and say let us conduct elections, it doesn’t make sense at all.”
UTM president Saulosi Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera are challenging May 21 presidential results in the Constitutional Court.
The two argue that the elections were marred by irregularities and are asking the court to nullify the results in which Mec declared President Peter Mutharika as a winner.
MCP, however, has so far said it will contest in the elections “under protest”.
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