There was drama at Blantyre City Civic offices during the election of mayor and deputy, with the city’s chief executive officer Alfred Chanza visibly reluctant to preside over the event.
Chanza first came with communication that he had received instructions from undisclosed sources that the elections be postponed because a certain councillor [it later transpired that it is Joseph Makwinja] had gone to court to challenge the candidature of Councillor Wild Ndipo.
Chanza said the court had not granted an injunction per-se but called for an inter partes hearing after which the judge would determine the next course of action in the matter.
He said he was advised that it was proper for the election to be postponed until the matter was resolved.
Before he left the chamber where the election was to take place, Blantyre City South East Member of Parliament Sameer Suleman stood on a point of order and demanded that elections be conducted as there was no injunction stopping the process.
The majority of members of Parliament and councillors agreed with him.
Councillor Makwenja also denied reports that he approached the courts.
Blantyre City Council legal counsel Mphatso Matandika prepared a sworn statement for Makwinja to sign— as evidence that he did not approach the courts—but he was nowhere to sign the statement as he left civic offices immediately after voting.
Nyambadwe Ward Councillor Balaba Kanojerera was elected deputy mayor with 14 votes against Jonas Kamwendo who got seven, Leonard Chimbanga who got six, Eric Mofolo who got three and Joyce Malunga, who got a single vote.
After the voting process, Ndipo was handed a third term, getting 18 votes, while Makwinja and Gertrude Chirambo got five votes each while Chidika Nyimba got two votes and Gerald Lipikwe got one vote.
Ndipo said the victory was a vote of confidence in his leadership at the council and promised further development in the city.
“Some people were saying I should not contest again but, you see, the voters have spoken. The city has spoken,” he said, adding that he would contest again for the fourth time if people wanted him to.