Some 1,292 Malawians—259 of them females- will be seeking to go to the august House come May 20. But parliament has enough room for only 193 lawmakers. 

From the look of things, this one promises to be one electrifying poll when you take a look at the contestants from Chitipa to Nsanje. Some new faces are likely to go to parliament, with a sprinkling of old faces.But who will survive the battle of wits? 

 

I looked at the list, and this is part one of my impressions on how the battle will be fought. 

Chitipa

 I will start off with Chitipa where I see former NGO guru Faustace Funnah Namushani Chirwa wearing the yellow colours of UDF to grab Chitipa central. There are seven competitors here, including the whole president—James Mbowe Nyondo-of Nasaf. 

Well, if Nyondo won’t make it to State House, then he has put his eggs in another basket–parliament. Not a bad idea to try to kill two birds with one stone, although the 

presidential bird is to me a foregone conclusion that it cannot be killed, when you consider the “big four” in the ring. 

With seven candidates to boot, including Alinubwila Msongole of PP, Milembo Musopole of MCP, DPP’s Clement Mukumbwa, Aston Nyondo of PDM, and independent Irene Chizumila, Chitipa Central can go either way. 

Remember soccer star Peterkins Kayira? He is standing as an independent in Chitipa Wenya. Also remember Manifesto Kayira of the AFORD early days who made it to the first multi-party parliament in 1994? He is also trying his luck in the same constituency as an independent. 

Quite interesting to note that the once mighty AFORD, which in 1994 scooped all the seats in the North, including Chitipa, is nowhere represented in Chitipa’s five constituencies in this election. Is AFORD really finished in Chitipa? 

The other parties fighting it out are MCP, PP, UDF, NARC, PDM and of course several independents. In all, 31 candidates will battle it out, with Chitipa North having three candidates only: UDF (Frank Kameme), DPP (Nickson Masebo) and current agriculture minister James Munthali (PP). 

Karonga 

In Karonga, the main battle is in the central, given the animosity between independent candidate Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo and PP candidate Cornelius Thomson Mwalwanda. Supporters of the two can as well be from Somalia—they like sorting it out by fists. 

I notice that Anangisye Gift Mwamondwe is back home as an independent in Karonga North West. He once was an MP in Blantyre’s Ndirande township. They say home is best, obviously because Blantyrians proud themselves for not repeating an MP, unless you are John Bande. 

In this constituency, there are five independents, who will compete with PP, DPP and MCP candidates.Quite a big fight in Karonga North East, where former diplomat and AFORD MP, Greene-Lulilo Mwamondwe, is one of the independents. 

And for Karonga Nyungwe, I see Khwauli Msiska who once infamously backed the open terms bid by Bakili Muluzi, defending the seat on the AFORD ticket. He will fight it out with MCP running-mate Richard Msowoya, Wanangwa Mwamlima of DPP and Galang’anda Simeza of PP and independent Hadrod C. Mkandawire Zeru Chipyelero. 

Karonga seems to be a nice place to contest as an MP, as the average per constituency are five candidates. In Karonga South, presidential aide on religion Malani Mtonga will stand for PP. In the same ring are contestants Robert Msowoya Katawa (MCP), Makhumbo James Mapunda( Independent), Yowoyani Greenwell Mponela (UDF) and Glad Chembe Munthali (DPP). KA has a total of 29 candidates. 

Rumphi 

Remember firebrand politician Kamlepo Kalua of the ‘Mwana Tchwee’ fame?  After running Malawi Democratic Party as a solo outfit for many years in Blantyre, Kamlepo decided to go home and start from the grassroots. Who said home is best? 

He will stand as MP on the PP ticket, and will compete with eight other contestants, including the ‘Nelson Mandela of Malawi’—Martin Machipisa Munthali of UDF, candidates from PPM, MCP, DPP, AFORD and two independents. This will be quite a good fight and one which will be closely followed. 

Rumphi, it seems, will provide good fights. The Rumphi central constituency is bloody interesting, what with AFORD President Enock Chihana, Peter Nchawaka Chihana (MCP), and Norman Malondanimaso Nyirenda of PP thrown into the ring. DPP and two independents are also in the fight. 

Can it be a foregone conclusion that Enock Chihana will win the battle when his style has been that “vote for me as MP and vote Joyce Banda as President”. 

All the four big parties—PP, MCP, UDF and DPP-are in the fight in Rumphi West, where the name to watch could be a white candidate Jacqueline Jacob C.c. Kouwen Hoven, who is standing as an independent, against candidates of PP, AFORD, MCP, UDF and PPM. 

In Rumphi North, there is one independent who will fight it out against reps from AFORD, PP, UDF, MCP and DPP. Rumphi has 28 candidates in total. 

Nkhata Bay 

Nkhata Bay, the home of the First Gentleman Richard Banda, is one battleground to watch. One interesting constituency is Nkhata Bay North , where only two contestants—Mganda Chiume of PP and Dancan Kanyanda Nyirenda of DPP, are in the ring.

Former minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda seeks to defend Nkhata Bay central. He will square out with lawyer Raphael Mhone (PP), Chande Wanangwa Mhone (UDF), two independents and MCP’s Dilla Jolly Nyimba. 

Controversial lawyer and former minister A. Ralph ada Kasambara wrestles in Nkhata Bay North West as an independent. He seems he will meet new comers in the game from PP, Aford, PPM, DPP and two independents. 

If he was not charged for money laundering and attempted murder, Kasambara could have contested on the PP ticket, but if he wins as an independent, it will show how powerful he is as a politician in Nkhata Bay. 

I know Noel Chimpeni who is standing on the PP ticket in Nkhata Bay West, where MCP, DPP and UDF have fielded candidates. In Nkhata Bay South, the fight is on between Zikhale Ngo’ma of PP and former minister Eta Banda, now an independent. 

A DPP and independent candidate complete the list, making it only 4 people contesting here. NB has a total of 31 candidates. 

Likoma Islands 

Likoma Islands sees Justin Thundu as an independent trying to take over from his wife, the incumbent MP. But it won’t be an easy fight with the PP (Boma Vincent Chirwa), DPP (George Johnssen Kamwanja) , UDF (Ada Chrsi Manda)  and MCP ( Christopher Ashems Songwe) fielding their own candidates, to make it a battle of 5. 

Mzuzu City 

The battle for Mzuzu central will be fierce, with 10 contestants thrown into the ring, with three independents including my friend Dan Msowoya, who along fights for AFORD battles. The DPP, UDF, NARC, AFORD, MCP, UIP and PP want control of the only Northern city. 

Mzimba 

Who can unseat current DPP MP Goodall Gondwe? Or will Goodall retain the seat? NARC’s Yeremiah Chihana, David Nungu of MCP, Agness Nyalonje (PP), Bennet Nyirenda (AFORD), Benson Zgambo (UDF) , Jacob Mbunge of PPM are all eyeing the same seat. 

Petra President Kamuzu Chibambo will have a go at his home constituency-Mzimba North east, where he will fight it out with two independents plus candidates from PP, MCP, UDF, DPP, PPM and Umodzi whose president is Prof John Chisi. 

Petra will also fight in Mzimba West, where MCP, PP, NARC, UDF, DPP and two independents are also in the ring. 

Mzimba South sees the MCP, PP, UDF, two independents, NARC and the DPP slugging it out. Mzimba central  and Mzimba Hora each have  four candidates—one independent, the PP, DPP and MCP. 

Mzimba Luweerezi has nine—two independents and each from DPP, PPM, UIP, PP, UDF, MCP and CCP-yes, Chipani Cha Pfuko which seems to have one candidate in the whole of Northern region.

 Two independents, MCP, DPP, NARC, UDF, NASAF, Petra, PP, UIP have joined the race in Mzimba Sosola, where Kholiwe Mkandawire will stand for UDF. The competition is lesser tougher in Mzimba east where two independents, UDF, PP, DPP and MCP are in the ring. 

Will vice president Khumbo Kachali make it in Mzimba South west on the PP ticket? He has a small fight against three other people—two independents and the DPP. With big cash and the state machinery, Kachali could romp to Lilongwe easily. But lets wait and see, as you never know with politics. 

And finally in Mzimba South east, one independent, PP, DPP, MCP, UDF and NARC will compete among politicians who seem, to me,  to be to be novices. Mzimba has a total of 84 candidates. 

Good Luck to you all guys!

Can’t wait for Next Friday — what has ACHIKULIRE got in-store for us plus part 2 .

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