Just one of the three others that were expected to be part of the Wednesday parliamentary debate organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust showed up, a development that has since raised eyebrows on the seriousness of the rest.
Chitonya Mwanyongo of MCP answered questions posed by moderator and the audience.
Daniel Chitonya Mwanyongo of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was the only one who attended, and was left fielding questions alone.
Others who had been invited and confirmed they would attend include Felix Kayira (UTM), Navina Chisambi (UDF) and James Kamwambi (DPP).
Why the other candidates were not present was unclear.
"We were surprised that they could not show up so we decided to go ahead with the candidate who had availed himself," said Anne Bwinga, one of the organisers.
The debate was being funded by Karonga Diocese's governance arm Justice and Peace and the Foundation for Community Support (FOCUS).
In his remarks after the debate, Mwanyongo said he was grateful to the organisers.
"I had to come because this was an important opportunity for me to share my vision with the people," said Mwanyongo.
Karonga NICE representative, Christobel Munthali, said those that missed the debate forewent a great opportunity to connect with the voters.
"We really thank the MCP candidate for coming," she said.
The debate was broadcast live on Tuntufye FM, a community radio station.