Malawi government spokesman and Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi has said the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has conceded defeat in three constituencies and three Local Government wards which opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has won in five out of the six areas.
Dausi in an interview - sounding jovial though -after Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah declared official results at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre on Wednesday afternoon which confirmed that voters rejected DPP, said the governing party indeed suffered a bloody nose in the pre-2019 election test.
He however said DPP had come a "decent second" to MCP in the contest.
"This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, but we will go back to the drawing board and do a soul searching so that we correct where we went wrong and not face the similar situation in the next coming Trippatite Election," he said.
"We are accepting the painful defeat but I can confidently tell Malawians and all DPP members that we have just lost the battle and not the real war. We will come out strong in 2019 polls," he said.
He dismissed analysts who argued that the by-elections were a litmus test for 2019 polls..
"Let me remind them that in 1999 MCP MP's won by-elections in Mzimba but they lost miserably in the same areas during general elections so they should expect this again in 2019," esaid Dausi.
He denied that the loss is highly embarrassing for President Peter Mutharika, who has made a series of high-profile visits to the areas in a bid to shore up the DPP vote.
The by-elections were held in Nsanje Lalanje Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada Constituency in the Southern Region and Lilongwe City South East and Lilongwe Msozi North constituencies as well as Mtsiriza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency and Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency in the Central Region.
MEC chair Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, congratulated the winners, advising that they have "a social contract"with the people and that they should go out to implement it.
"I urge you to celebrate with responsibility. For those who have not made it, I say there can only be one winner and this time it is not you," said Ansah.
MEC official results indicated that MCP won hby-elections were held in Nsanje Lalanje Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada Constituency in the Southern Region and Lilongwe City South East and Lilongwe Msozi North constituencies as well as Mtsiriza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency but lost to DPP the Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency in the Central Region.
By-elections in Lilongwe City South East followed a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order for a rerun after noting irregularities in the parliamentary race on May 20 2014 whereas in the other five areas the vacancies arose following deaths of office holders.
The court nullified the May 20 2014 parliamentary results in Lilongwe City South East Constituency that declared Bentley Namasusu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner.
MCP contestant in the elections, Ulemu Msungama, challenged the results on the basis of irregularities, something the court upheld.
The Tuesday's by-elections has vindicated Msungama who won the poll in credible polls.
Crippling unemployment, economic turmoil and corruption scandals in government led voters to punish the DPP in areas where MCP gained victories.