Bandawe questions democracy in MCP over primaries U-turn

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Initial winner of the Dedza East Malawi Congress Party (MCP) primary elections Patrick Bandawe, has strongly protested the party’s decision to stripe him off victory and handed it to his contender Julliana Lunguzi.

Bandawe: I demand answers Bandawe: I demand answers

On Sunday, MCP conducted primary elections in Dedza East Constituency, which saw Bandawe beating Lunguzi with a simple six points margin.

However, on Monday, the MCP National Executive Committee (NEC) overturned the results, declaring Lunguzi the winner.

Reads the statement, signed by MCP Publicity Secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali: “At the end of the exercise, the Presiding Officer, going by the number of votes shared between two candidates, declared Mr. Patrick Bandawe the winner. However, an independent enquiry by the Directorate of Elections has established that there were more than two contestants, yet the figures for the others have not been reported, which is irregular.

 “Further, we have established that a candidate in that race, having received votes that were insufficient for a victory, is alleged to have yielded the votes his supporters cast for him to another candidate, which is not only irregular, but is unethical and a serious breach of party conduct. The Directorate of Elections therefore recommended that that candidate be disqualified and his votes discounted together with the figures of the declared winner who was a primary beneficiary of the violation.

“For this reason, it is the resolution of the party that Juliana Lunguzi is the legitimate winner of the Dedza East Primaries, not only because she had the votes to win before other candidates colluded to manipulate the process, but also because our investigations show that she had no part in the collusion.”

However, this has not gone down well with Bandawe, who, in a statement also released on Monday, accused of undemocratic tendancies and that the party was taking a partisan stand after it made a decision based on only one side of the story as it has not heard his side.

“Why has the party made the decision based on only one side of the story? While they have listened to Hon. Lunguzi’s version of events, the party has not yet made an attempt to hear me out. As I issue this press statement, on Monday 4pm, the party has made no effort to reach out to me. What kind of justice is this?

“If the party felt there were irregularities during the polls, the option was to declare the elections null and void and order a re-run. What prophetic basis is the MCP using to determine that Hon. Lunguzi would have won had the 31 areas taken part in the election,” he said.

Bandawe also disputed the party’s claim that he benefitted from the delegates after one candidate, upon realising that he was losing, asked his delegates to vote for the other candidates.

“It is indeed true that some of those delegates joined my queue. But some of them also joined Hon Lunguzi's queue. So why is the party only punishing me,” he said.

Bandawe has since given the party 24 hours to rectify the issue, failing which he will seek legal redress.

“I need clarification from MCP Headquarters why they rejected the results by a Presiding Officer who it sent all the way from Lilongwe to conduct the elections. Does this not defeat the ends of both democracy and justice?

“I request the party to provide me with an explanation within the next 24 hours about how it decided to declare Hon. Lunguzi as winner of the elections despite results of the vote, as confirmed at the constituency level and by the Presiding Officer who was duly assigned and trusted by the party HQ. I will be forced to seek legal redress if the party does not address this matter, especially in view of the fact that the party seemed to have settled on the winner long before the elections and it is determined to ensure this dream is not disrupted.”

As we went to the press on Tuesday morning, MCP NEC had not commented on Bandawe’s statement.

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