Malawi-Elections Eight Cabinet
Ministers Lose Seats in Parliament
Africa News Service
BLANTYRE, Malawi (PANA, 06/17/99) - The Malawi Electoral Commission
has confirmed that at least eight cabinet ministers have lost their bids for the
193-member Parliament as counting of ballots from Tuesday's polls continued
Exit polls show that all cabinet ministers who defected from the Alliance For
Democracy (AFORD) to the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) have failed
to retain their seats on the UDF ticket.
These include Foreign Affair minsiter Mapopa Chipeta and Environmental
Affairs minister, Fran Mayinga Mkandawire. Other former
AFORD-turned-UDF ministers Melvin Moyo and Chend Mkandawire also lost
their bids for parliament.
Commerce and Industry minister, Matembo Mzunda, an academic who joined
politics on AFORD ticket, switched his alligiance to the UDF but stood as an
independent, also lost.
The Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Rodwell Munyenyembe,
veteran politician who held a number of ministerial positions in the 1970s under
the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), also narrowly failed in his independent bid
Among the big casualties is Agriculture Minister Aleke Banda, a flamboyant
politician who is also first vice president in the UDF. He lost his second bid for
parliament after a gallant campaign.
While all the ministers lost in the AFORD stronghold of the northern region,
there were also colourful casualties in other areas.
George Bundaunda Phiri, a youthful politician who quit the MCP and was
rewarded with a cabinet position, lost his re-election bid in the central district of
Another notable central region casualty is Kamangadazi Chambalo, the transport
minister, who lost his seat in the capital, Lilongwe, to the MCP.
Politicians who have won seats in Parliament iclude Vice-President Justin
Malewezi, still recuperating from a kidney transplant, who took the Ntchisi
Constituency in the central region which he had lost in 1994.
Another new face to be watched is Chakufwa Chihana, the AFORD strongman
who was so confident he would win the presidency in 1994 that he gave up his
Rumphi seat in the north to Mayinga Mkandawire. He beat his former blue-eyed
boy clean this time.
Official results were expected to be released by Thursday evening but the exit
polls show President Bakili Muluzi had a clear edge over the opposition alliance
while the alliance had an edge over the UDF in the parliamentary race.