Exclusive: Why Is Central Region Refusing To Register To Vote For MCP?

Malawi Congress Party MPs and councillors have been abusing the funds which government has been proving under various development windows, leaving people unhappy and refusing to register to vote in next year’s elections, our investigations have established.

In the news at the moment is the issue of eligible voters refusing to register in MCP’s stronghold in the Central Region, a move that has left MCP panicking as that spells an ignominous loss in the elections next year.

The voters in the region have told MEC officials that they will not register because the MCP councillors and MPs, which include the party leader Lazarus Chakwera who is MP in Lilongwe, have failed to deliver.

Our further investigations have established that MCP MPs have abused the following development funds (i). Constituency Develoment Funds (CDF) and (ii). The District Development Fund (DDF), (iii). The Local Development Fund (LDF), and (iv). Borehole Maintenance Fund.

“MCP MPs and councillors have not delivered development from the four development windows which government set up for development at grassroots level…MCP leaders have just been enriching themselves. So people here are very angry,” said an official at Kasungu District Council.

Chakwera, Ansah after the meeting at MEC headoffice in Blantyre

The official added: “These days, these people know how government disburses funds for development of their communities. We have structures all the way down to area level and all of them know that government releases the funds for use. And they also know the role MPs and councillors play in tapping these resources for use and they know who is the problem when development does not happen.”

People we spoke to also said MCP MPs rarely conduct political rallies to interface with their constituents.

“The MCP leaders have been shunning us and we are now simply revenging by boycotting the voter registration. We are disappointed with them and it is no longer our concern that they will lose the election because we have not registered,” said Daniel Chafuli, a tobacco farmer from Chilowa Matambe in Kasungu who we found at the tobacco auction foors in Kanengo, Lilongwe.

In addition, people say this far, MCP has failed to provide an alternative development policy, hence they see no reason to register to vote for them again. This is consistent with the findings of the London think-tank Economic Intelligence Unit that despite “vocal attacks on President Mutharika, Chakwera struggles to offer any viable policy alternative.”

Instead of working on their failures, Chakwera and his party are blaming Malawi Electoral Commission for the poor turn out of voters in the region.

Yesterday, Chakwera and his officials were at MEC offices in Blantyre where they engaged in a three-hour meeting with MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and other officials  where he raised concerns over the low turn out of voters in the Central region for registration in the first phase.

MEC and National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust were quoted in the media last week saying their investigations have established that people in Salima, Dedza and Kasungu opted to stay away from registering because the MCP candidates they voted for in 2014 failed to perform.

Interestingly, while Chakwera is keen to blame everyone for the people’s protest, he circulated a list of party officials who he had assigned to do mass awareness campaigns in those areas for people to register.

One of the party’s top officials Rhino Chiphiko told the media that they had set aside K150 million for the exercise. That project seems to have failed