Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Councillor Lewis Ngalande has accused Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa, for plotting the councillor’s defeat in the mayoral elections held on Monday in Blantyre City.
Ngalande told reporters after the polls that some councillors were calling him on Sunday that they are receiving instructions from Nankhumwa not to vote for Ngalande.
“I have seen some messages which Nankhumwa sent to some councillors not to vote for me, saying I am a very difficult person. This is the second time top party officials are standing on my way to assume the mayoral position, so I am waiting for Hon. Nankhumwa to tell me his reasons for doing that. I don’t know what wrong I have done to him,” said Ngalande.
But Nankhumwa has denied any involvement in Ngalande’s loss, asking him to produce evidence to back his claims.
“I did not cal l any councillor, in fact, I only have two phone numbers of Blantyre City Councillors which are councillor [Noel] Chalamanda and Councillor [Wild]Ndipo. Besides, we made a decision as a party not to campaign for any candidate as one way of ensuring that the best candidate wins,” Nankhumwa said.
In the elections, Chalamanda lost after getting two votes only while his former deputy, Wild Ndipo, got 17 votes and is the new Mayor of Blantyre.
Ndipo also defeated fellow DPP councillor’s Ngalande of Misesa Ward and George Chipwete of Soche West Ward who got three and eight votes respectively.
Bangwe Ward Councillor, Joseph Makwinja, is the new Deputy Mayor of the city after scooping 16 votes against Namalimwe Ward Councillor Gertrude Chirambo’s 14.
In his acceptance speech, Ndipo said his election meant the continuation of projects that were initiated under Councillor Chalamanda.
“I have more respect for Chalamanda and I am looking forward to learning more from him. Together, we initiated beautiful projects for the city and since I was part of his team, it will now be the continuation of whatever we started and move forward to make Blantyre City a better place for all,” he said.
Chalamanda while accepting defeat said he will continue his work as councillor until 2019.
“People have spoken and I respect their decision, I am always available to help. As I am leaving office, I am going a happy man and I should thank all city residents for their support in the two and half years I have been Mayor,” he said.
In Mzuzu, opposition councillors from the People’s Party (PP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won the polls.
PP’s candidate, William Mkandawire, beat DPP candidate Yona Mkandawire after scooping 13 votes against three to be re-elected Mzuzu City Mayor.
Former deputy mayor, Fraser Chunga, lost after he and Patrick Ng’oma from the same PP got two votes each. Alexander Mwakikunga of the MCP is the new Mzuzu City’s Deputy Mayor after getting nine votes.
In his acceptance speech, Mkandawire has appealed for renewed support from all stakeholders to champion development of the city.
“Developing the city can only be meaningful with all support from all key stakeholders. The elections are over and it’s now time to forge ahead,” said Mkandawire.
The elections were marred by controversy as some DPP cadets threatened to assault Member of Parliament (MP) for Mzuzu City, Leonard Njikho, and Councillor for Msongwe Ward, Judith Chiume, on suspicion that they did not vote for the party’s candidate on the mayoral position.
Soon after the winner was declared, DPP cadets started throwing abusive words at Njikho and Chiume who were later whisked out of the hall by some members of the party.
The cadets then blocked the entrance to the polling hall while chanting songs against MCP and PP supporters.
DPP Regional Governor Kenneth Sanga confirmed the action of the cadets.
“As a party, we have procedures we follow when somebody has done against the party’s wish. I have told the boys never to react on the development. We cannot condone such malpractice in the party,” Sanga said.