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Mtiya Ward by-elections gives DPP a litmus test, MCP fires a warning shot

By Kondanani Chilimunthaka

The results of Local Government by-election that was held in Mtiya Ward of Zomba Central Constituency on Tuesday, 26th September, 2023 has ignited debate among Malawians, with some suggesting the comeback for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), others suggesting the penetration for Malawi Congress Party, and some quotas predicting danger for United Transformation Movement (UTM).

The fact that the Ward was under UTM through 2019 Local Government Election, and that DPP has won it via by-election few days ago with MCP coming second having got 50 votes short of the winning DPP leaves a lot of home work for DPP ahead of 2025 elections if it is to dislodge MCP from government, while on the other hand the result is a threat to the survival of UTM ahead of 2025 elections, having got only 66 votes of the possible 1,113 votes casted on the election day.

The results of the election has clearly shown that MCP is making its headway in the Southern region of Malawi which has never been favorite environment in yielding votes for the oldest political party since the birth of Multiparty democracy.

From the current situation, one can easily tell that regardless of some sections rating MCP badly due to economic challenges leading to rising of prices, many citizens are rating Malawi Congress Party highly due to its endeavors to push for developmental projects amidst the challenges.

It is also clear that the reaction of Chakwera led administration during and after the devastating Cyclone Freddy to the victims of the catastrophe has instilled a great new political atmosphere among the people of the Southern region which is favouring MCP.

It is also of fact that the ruling MCP has human resources which is capable of changing people’s minds once they step on the podium. To this fact, the shaking made by Party’s Strategist, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma popularly known as Nyama Zikuluzikulu in politics, its Campaign Director, Moses Kunkuyu, its Director of Youth, Richard Chimwendo Banda AKA Bulldozer ku ndale, Eisenhower Mkaka Secretary General for MCP, party’s Eastern region committee, led by Regional Chairman Foster Mtandama , NEC member Kondi Msungama, and many party officials from the Southern and Eastern political regions of the party bears a testimony of what human resources Malawi Congress Party has.

“I now understand why MCP leaders say the party has many more years to lead the country. I now understand how strong MCP is. I now do agree that it will not be easy to dislodge MCP come 2025. What has transpired in Mtiya Ward is a warning shot to DPP which has all along been MCP rival in the country’s politics” Recalled one of the Zomba residents we talked to after MEC announced the official results.

Another woman when asked just said: “The Ward belonged to UTM, today we have heard that it got only 66 votes in the by-election. If the result is to reflect the political future, then I can confidently say UTM has no future in our politics”

If the Mtiya Ward results will be the measure of strength, then the litmus test is too hard for DPP to contain the warning shot fired by the Malawi Congress Party which has total control of the Central region, and commands part of the Northern region.

During the by-election, DPP won by 505 votes, with MCP getting 455 as runners-up, while UTM amassed 66 votes of the total 1,113 votes.

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