BLANTYRE-(MalawianWatchdog)—Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) top officials have lambasted Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President, Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in parliament, for flouting procedures in lodging electoral complaints.
Chakwera recently wrote a letter to the diplomatic community in Malawi regarding alleged death threats directed to MCP candidate Lawrence Sitolo ahead of the Nsanje Lalanje parliamentary by-elections.
Chakwera, according to the letter, claims that the life of Sitolo, is in danger, alleging DPP officials are persuading him to withdraw his candidacy through financial inducement. He claims that DPP promised Sitolo K100 million cash offer or a diplomatic posting with cash makeweight of K50 million in exchange. Additionally, Chakwera alleges that some DPP officials have made phone calls to Sitolo, threatening to ‘eliminate’ him if he does not comply to the demands.
But during government media briefing, monitored by Malawian Watchdog, DPP officials led by information minister Nicholas Dausi, labeled the opposition leader as an enemy of ordinary citizens, saying his action was bent towards forcing the donor community to withdrawal aid.
“Mr. Chakwera is so desperate. He is doing everything possible to get the presidential sit at the expense of Malawians. His motive behind the letter was to force the donor community to withdrawal aid so that Malawians should suffer, then DPP should be blamed,” said Dausi adding his (Chakwera) action is not befitting a person who is fresh from the pulpit.
Taking the floor, Ken Nsonda, formerly of People’s Party (PP), wondered why the leader of opposition rushed to diplomats instead of directing his concerns to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
“Any concern regarding elections must be directed to MEC. That is the country’s electoral body which is mandated to take disciplinary actions against any candidate who behaves contrary to the rules and regulations of elections.
“By sending that letter to the diplomats, it is clear that Chakwera was up to something. As a leader of opposition, Chakwera must learn how to handle conflicts,” said Nsonda.
Veteran writer Thom Chiumia also took time to school Chakwera on how best he should be handling complaints in his column Loose Canon.
“Whether or not Chakwera’s claims are genuine, I have an overwhelming feeling that the MCP leader jumped the gun in handling this sensitive matter. According to its ‘mission’, MEC is an independent constitutionally mandated and impartial institution, which “shall professionally deliver credible, transparent, inclusive, efficient and cost effective elections to promote and entrench democratic values and peace in Malawi”, reads the article in part.
The Nsala Lalanje constituency fell vacant following the death of its parliamentarian, Sam Ganda, earlier this year. Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) set October 17, 2017 for parliamentary by-elections in Nsanje Lalanje as well as in Lilongwe City South East Constituency. The latter became vacant through a court order following a legal complaint by MCP’s Ulemu Msungama over the May 2014 results, which were in favour of DPP’s Bentley Namisasu. The courts ordered a re-run.
There is tense in camps of both parties because victory will be morale booster as the 2019 general elections are fast approaching.