Opposition DPP first vice-president and Malawi’s former finance minister Goodall Gondwe has expressed optimism that the party will get back into government in 2014 going by attendance figures at the party’s meetings. Gondwe said this on Tuesday when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) conducted primaries in Mzimba Central Constituency ahead of the October 9 by-elections to replace Professor Donton Mkandawire who died last December. “The party is extremely strong and a lot of people are looking up to it…

The DPP policies that made the country strong will not only continue but will be more vigorously followed by the party if we are elected in 2014. We have a vision of where the country should be going,” said Gondwe. He said he was surprised by the orderly and peaceful conduct of the primaries. During the primaries, Owen Mkandawire emerged winner with 334 votes, beating Michael Zimba and Robert Mkandawire, who got 204 and nine votes, respectively. Of the 900 expected delegates, only 547 turned up, a situation Mzimba South East parliamentarian Rabson Chihaula Shaba, who coordinated the primaries at Euthini Secondary School grounds, blamed on logistics. Meanwhile, regional governor Christopher Ngwira said only Ronald Chavula turned up in Mzimba South-West Constituency primaries on Tuesday.

“We just asked delegates to line up behind him and at least 391 did so and the remainder gave us an impression that they preferred another candidate,” said Ngwira. According to him, they expected 680 delegates but only 530 turned up due to logistics. The constituency fell vacant following the appointment of Khumbo Kachali as the country’s Vice-President.

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