By Gauthely Gondola
In its untiring efforts to give credibility to the forth coming by-elections, which opposition parties have vowed not to participate, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is financing Paul Maulidi of the People’s Party to contest against its party candidate in Blantyre North Constituency, Banthu Times has learnt.
Maulidi who is also People’s Party (PP) Secretary General is contesting against the decision of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, not to take part in any election especially the forthcoming by-elections slated for October 7 until electoral reforms are put in place.
Ironically, Maulidi was also part of the NEC meeting which made the decision about boycotting the elections and to the surprise of many; he has made a u-turn about contesting.
People’s Party spokesperson Ken Msonda said the party feels that the Malawi Electoral Commission messed up the May 20 Tripartite Elections and that the DPP rigged the results. At present status, the party feels that the electoral laws are not conducive to deal with the electoral fraud that marred the general elections.
Maulidi is quoted in the media accusing the former President Dr. Joyce Banda of infringing on his rights yet our sources in the PP have indicated that the decision not to contest in the by-elections have nothing to do with the former president
“The former president advised the party to contest, but it was the whole NEC that was against the decision until reforms are in place. Its very sad that Mauilidi want to drag Dr. Joyce Banda into something that he himself supported during the NEC meeting.” Said one PP NEC Officials opting for anonymity
However, the Banthu Times is reliably informed that the DPP is not leaving any stone unturned in a bid to give credibility to the election processes which opposition parties have vowed to boycott.
The party approached candidates of opposition parties including Maulidi assuring them of financial support if they contest and even let them win the elections of which Maulidi has obliged hence the sudden change to contest the by-elections
Other major political parties are also pondering on what to do on the coming by-elections as they have indicated to have lost trust in the electoral body. The United Democratic Front (UDF) in not participating in the forthcoming elections while the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is yet to make a final position.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy, (CMD) and the Malawi Electoral Support Network, (MESN) are in a process of consulting stakeholders in the electoral process on the possible reforms.
It is a general consensus that the Malawi electoral body miserably failed to manage the May 20 polls hence the need for a complete overhaul. Some representatives at the consultative meetings have gone further to suggest changes in the electoral laws including the first past the post. Majority of people have suggested a 50 plus one system of managing the election.
MESN Vice Chairperson Emma Kalia said in Lilongwe at the opening of the last but one consultative conference on electoral reforms that it is an open secret that the May 20 polls were marred by massive irregularities that ought not to be repeated.
“We are all aware the electoral commission failed to manage the elections we need an overhaul of the electoral commission and some laws that govern our elections created room for rigging, we need to clean the mess,” said Kalia.
Deputy Country Director for the National Democratic Institute, NDI, Sandra Kwimbaya said it is high time Malawians make decisions on how they want elections to be governed.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, CCJP, National Coordinator Chris Chisoni said it is imperative to change the laws that failed the nation is as far as managing of the elections is concerned.
It is with the call by the stakeholders in the electoral processes that the opposition parties feel that the same MEC that failed to manage the just ended polls cannot manage the by election barely months after the failed process.