By Linda Kwanjana
With all the noises on social media, UTM and the United Democratic Front (UDF) have announced that they will not contest during the Dedza Central constituency by-election slated for November 9 this year.
According to UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala, the party has decided to withdraw from the race as a strategic move to keep other parties in the dark regarding UTM moves in the run up to the 2025 elections.
On its part, the UDF publicist Yusufu Mwawa said, the party has decided to invest their time and resources in the 2025 elections hence their decision not to contest in the forthcoming by-election.
However, although no one saw this coming, this should not come as a surprise. Coming from a humiliating defeat in the recent Mtiya Ward by-election in Zomba, where UTM and UDF came distant third and fourth respectively, the two struggling parties know that their chances of prevailing over the Malawi Congress Party are slim.
Any astute politician should know when to throw a towel. In any case both UTM and UDF must have thought that if MCP ran neck to neck with DPP in the latter’s stronghold in the recent Mtiya ward which MCP lost by a small margin to the eventual winner, there should be no contest in Dedza Central.
Even the DPP will appear on the ballot paper for the sake of making the elections look like a contest.
By and large the two parties’ decisions not to contest in the next election is not strategic one but an exercise to save their faces.
Dedza Central fell vacant a few months ago following the death of an MCP legislature. Willard Gwengwe, an MCP candidate himself is a favourite to win the seat