BLANTYRE (MalawiTalk) –The erstwhile governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, the country’s former president Prof Peter Mutharika is shaken how voters have dealt a devastating blow to his party which has crashed in the by elections losing its two seats in Nsanje central and north constituencies to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Karonga north west to UTM Party.
Mutharika expected that the man he wanted to be leader of the opposition in parliament, Mr Francis Kasaila, would retain his seat in Nsanje Central but was defeated by Mr Kafandikhale Mandevana MCP with 8230 votes against 6648 votes.
In Nsanje North, DPPs MS Esther Mcheka Chilenje also lost to MCP’s Mr Enock Chizuzu.
But DPP has only won in Chitakale Ward, Mulanje, where its candidate Mr Richard Mulingano has been elected councillor.
The unofficial results show Mulingano has amassed 3565 of the 4703-vote cast on Tuesday’s by-election which the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) held following the death of councillor Owen Kampira in January 2021.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party candidates: Aaron Chitsulo and Alexander Foster Phiri got 742 and 338 votes, respectively.
DPP also retained Liviridzi Ward following the party’s candidate Mr Lucious Elia’s victory over six contenders.
From his beachside retirement home in Mangochi, Mutharika conceded he was shaken by the results but asked for a questionnaire which he had not responded to as we went online to post the story.
DPP is facing squabbles over leadership and discontent from within its rank and file over Mutharika’s succession plans.
Political and governance analysts have attributed the current ‘undesirable’ developments in the DPP to failure by its leader Mutharika to bring about inspiration since losing presidential elections in June 2020.
A political science professor from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), Ernest Thindwa, observed things were falling apart in the former governing party because “Peter Mutharika is not the best for the DPP.”
He said: “Mutharika epitomises several attributes of a failed leader which the DPP does not need at the moment. So the faster they get rid of him and put in a person who can rebrand the party and sell it to Malawians, the better. Otherwise not many Malawians will buy the DPP brand because they know what will likely come out of him.”
Thindwa proposed the party needed to identify a person who could symbolise its change to start winning back people’s confidence.
He also said loss of patronage resources by virtue of losing the court sanctioned presidential election has also affected the DPP as the development meant the party also lost access to public resources which they used to buy loyalty.