Postmortem on Karonga central by-elections: What led to the results

By Staff Writer

November 10th, 2020 will go down in the history of Karonga central constituency as a remarkable day when people took to polling stations to elect a legislature who they deemed fit to replace Cornelius Mwalwanda who died earlier that year.

Other candidates took apart, of course, but the two, Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo of UTM and Leonard Mwalwanda of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) were the centres of interest.

At exactly 6AM, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had opened all the poling centres in the constituency and people had began casting their ballots for the candidate of their choice.

In course of voting, however, one of the candidates, Frank Mwenifumbo, rose a complaint to MEC against his giant rival, Leonard Mwalwanda who, according to the complainant, was an illegal candidate in Karonga central constituency because he was not eligible to vote therein.

Nonetheless, voting continued, irrespective of some violent scenes that ensured between MCP supporters and UTM followers in some parts of the constituency.

Fast forward to counting and announcing of unofficial results. As expected, everyone of the two giants was leading in his strongholds and had a feeling that he would be the one to carry the day.

However, as the common adage goes, in every contest, there must be one winner and that winner, in this case, according to MEC, was Leonard Mwalwanda of MCP.

As Mwenifumbo lasts to contest the results on grounds of fraud and massive irregularities he noted in the election, akometsi took back to the constituency to establish some of the reasons that led to the outcomes.

Our team visited some strongholds of the two giant rivals and recorded the views of the people on what they suggest might have led to the results.

Other people were of the view that Mwenifumbo won the election but had his victory robbed through a systematic scheme the MCP had mapped.

Others claimed that Mwalwanda was inducing voters with money to vote for him thus amassing votes that surpassed those of Mwenifumbo.

“We were afraid to vote for Mwenifumbo because during campaign, MCP senior members had disclosed that should we vote for any candidate other than there’s, they would sideline us in developmental activities,” claimed Bruce Chihana, resident of Mwenilondo.

Akometsi further established that the Mwalwandas are very kind, selfless and generous people in Karonga central. According to our findings, people troop to their village to seek for any assistance and they are always given by the Mwalwandas.

Them being a rich family with other members based in European countries and America, they easily help and are helping hundreds of students in secondary schools and colleges in the country with tuition.

“They are always there for everyone in times of need. They are selfless and generous people. This is why most of us voted for them,” said Grace Kayange, resident of Ipyana.

Other noteworthy claims people made include that Mwenifumbo disappointed his constituents when he was once a member of Parliament there.

“Mwenifumbo is just a good man but not developmental conscious. In the years he was our member of Parliament, he achieved nothing tangible. People have that in mind,” said Aaron Mkandawire, resident of Ipyana.

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