MCP sweeps 3 wards in Karonga by-elections

MCP sweeps 3 wards in Karonga by-elections

Malawi Congress Party (MCP), a key partner in the governing Tonse Alliance, has won all the three wards in Karonga District where by-elections were held on Tuesday to fill vacancies.

The victory, according to The Nation analysis of parliamentary and local government by-elections since the May 2019 Tripartite Elections, shows that MCP has won more seats, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is the worst loser. 

MCP supporters celebrate after MEC announced the results

Out of 15 parliamentary and 12 local government by-elections that have been held MCP has won seven parliamentary seats and six wards.

The DPP, on its part, has lost six seats against winning one. The United Democratic Front has won two parliamentary seats, three have gone to independent candidates while the UTM Party and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) have won one each.

In the March 26 2024 by-elections in three wards of Kaporo, Rukuru and Chilanga in Karonga, MCP candidates King Mvula, Gift Kumbukani Mwale and Alick Ng’oma won respectively.

Governance expert George Chaima said the power of incumbency through use of public resources and poverty levels are driving factors of MCP’s glory.

He said: “People are hungry, prices of goods are high, and there are no medicines in hospitals. Poverty levels are high and any small handout, cash transfers or fertilisers are used to manipulate people to vote for those in power.”

Political pundit Ernest Thindwa noted that the opposition’s lack of alternative solutions on socio-economic challenges forces voters to remain with the party in power.

Another governance analyst Mavuto Bamusi, blamed the DPP for being too disorganised.

“The DPP still needs to do something to convince people. Specifically, it speaks volumes about the strategy that it is using to woo people. People may not be amused by the DPP’s behaviour of using recycled politicians to campaign,” he said.

DPP spokesperson Shadric Namalomba said the party will issue a statement on the by-elections as well as assure Malawians of “our resolve to win the 2025 General Elections”.

In a separate interview, UTM Party spokesperson Felix Njawala said there were challenges they faced in recent by-elections.

“These may include local dynamics, campaign strategies, candidate selection processes, and broader political landscape shifts. It’s crucial for us to thoroughly assess these aspects to pinpoint areas for improvement and capitalise on our successes,” he said.

On his part, UDF publicity secretary Yusuf Mwawa said most of the by-elections have not taken place where UDF has a large following, hence the poor performance.

In announcing the results in Karonga yesterday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Chifundo Kachale bemoaned low voter turnout.

He said Kaporo Ward registered 31 percent turnout, Chilanga Ward had 35 percent while Rukuru Ward closed at 24 percent.

“MEC will from next month embark on engagement meetings with district councils on the new electoral laws that will dwell much on time of opening polling centres which is 6am and closing time which is now at 4pm,” said Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi.

The post MCP sweeps 3 wards in Karonga by-elections first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post MCP sweeps 3 wards in Karonga by-elections appeared first on The Nation Online.