Major political parties in the Northern Region have expressed a mixed bag of reactions on the results of a study conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research for the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy in August.
The Study indicates that the United Transformation Movement (UTM) is the strongest party in the Northern Region with a slightly higher support from the electorate than ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“ The Northern Region, on the other hand was up for grabs with UTM and DPP tied at 29% and 28 % respectively… In the northern region Partisan support is meanwhile contested by the UTM, DPP and MCP,” reads the report.
Commenting on the results of opinion poll on Tuesday, Member of Parliament for Mzuzu City, Leonard Njikho concurred with IPOR that UTM is becoming the strongest political Party in the North.
“I do not know how they conducted their survey but the truth is that here in the North a very big number of the population is for UTM.
“If the elections were done tomorrow, we would get the largest voters . I have gone around Mzuzu City, I have interacted with many people, they talk of UTM,” said Njikho.
Njikho said this at the sidelines of a closed-door UTM National Executive (NEC) Meeting for the Northern Region at Anglican Hall in Mzuzu where the UTM is expected to elect new regional leaders.
But Democratic Progressive Party Regional Governor in the North Kenneth Sanga said that the DPP was still the strongest Party in the North, despite the results of the polls.
Sanga said that the validity of the opinion poll by IPOR would only be known by the outcome of the 2019 Tripartite Elections. He, however, pointed to the presence of DPP election monitors at all registration centres in the North an indicator that the DPP is still the strongest political Party in the Region. Said Sanga:
“I do not know where the report was conducted but having monitors on the ground, this should tell you that we are the only party to reckon with. So, let’s wait for May .
“With or without the report, DPP will remain strong and we will continue to working hard. So let’s wait and see whether the report is credible or not credible, let’s wait for May.”
Malawi Congress Party’ (MCP)’s Regional Secretary Dila Nyimba said he could not comment on the opinion polls as he had not yet seen the report.
In the Study, IPOR, interviewed 1350 people who are of voting age from across the Country as a presentative sample of Malawi’s population. The researchers utilized a popular open source application known as Open Data Kit on tablets to collect the data for analysis.
IPOR’s study also collected people’s views of various governance issues such as the levels of corruption and the performance of public institutions in Malawi ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.