Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) Member of Parliament for Karonga Central constituency Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo has threatened to drag to court Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Karonga district Chairman James Nkhoma for defamation if he does not apologize within seven days.
Mwenifumbo said this when he appeared before the district multiparty liaison committee (MPLC) meeting that was organised for him to answer allegations of vote rigging in the forth coming tripartite elections.
The decision to summon Mwenifumbo was reached at after MPLC members had discussed the letter which Nkhoma wrote Malawi Electoral Commission on 1 January this year over the matter.
“On 31 December, 2018 Mwenifumbo’s lorry, registration number KA 4381 was seen ferrying people from Karonga North-West constituency to his Mikoma Lodge in Karonga central to discuss a possible voter transfer deal during the voter verification exercise which is currently under way in Karonga that would eventually see them voting for him,” Nkhoma alleges.
He further said in 2014 Mwenifumbo used the same tactic since he hired people as monitors of parties that do not exist in Karonga.
“We do not want history to repeat itself,” stressed Nkhoma.
The letter also accuses DPP’s shadow Member of Parliament for Karonga North Mungasulwa Mwambande for planning to rig elections and ferrying people from Karonga North-West constituency to Karonga North on his car with an aim of enhancing his winning chances during this year’s election.
But when Mwenifumbo appeared before the committee to explain the side of his story, he said indeed his track on this material day picked up people from the mentioned places to Mikoma Lodge which happens to be his business place but said they were relatives to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
“I challenge people to check pictures of the celebrations on his official Facebook page to ascertain his claims as every activity was streamed live,”he emphasised
Mwenifumbo, has since threatened to seek legal redress if Nkhoma and the MCP do not officially apologize to him and his family within seven days, saying the allegations are serious, have dented his image and injured his family members.
On his part, Mwambande said he offered a lift to some people from the boma who wanted to register in Karonga North constituency as most of them did not have means of transport from their business centre to where they cast votes, a thing which he said is normal.
“I was approached by people who come from his constituency if he could provide transport to enable them go and register,” Mwambande said.
Asked whether he will comply by apologizing to the concerned members, MCP district chairperson said he will do the needful thing as MCP is a peace loving party.
“I will keep an eye on every suspicious event in as far as the 2019 tripartite elections are concerned because as a party they want free, fair and credible elections,” Nkhoma said.
He cautioned Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to make sure that they handle concerns and 2019 elections with the seriousness they deserve.
Speaking on behalf of MEC, the senior electoral services officer responsible for logistics who is also team leader for Karonga verification exercise, Samuel Sitolo hailed Karonga MPLC for resolving concerns raised by MCP amicably.
Sitolo said the whole reason why MEC decentralized the system is to have conflict resolution mechanisms at district level.
He further said “MEC is happy that both actors were called to present the side of their story and map the way forward together as a committee.”
District education manager Scot Kondowe who sat in on behalf of the chairperson for Karonga district MPLC Richard Hara urged all political parties to bring concerns to the committee with tangible evidence to avoid tension that comes with rumour mongers.
The meeting was attended by political parties, traditional leaders, police, NICE and religious leaders.