Malawi: UTM Badly Hit in Parliamentary Polls As Gurus Tumble

Voting in progress at Goliati in Thyolo where President Peter Mutharika will cast his vote.

New kid on the political block UTM Party has performed badly in legislative and local government polls with its top brass failing to win seats including the party's director of campaign Lucius Banda, Secretary General Patricia Kaliati and patron Noel Masangwi , according to earliest results that started trickling in Wednesday morning.

UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati chats with DPP deputy secretary general Aaron Sangala

UTM candidates continued to perform miserably against main rivals Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Callista Mutharika, widow to late President Bingu wa Mutharika, seemed to be trailing behind MCP's George Zulu in Lilongwe City West.

Mutharika was one of the first voices that contributed to the formation of UTM Party after she had openly spoken in favor of UTM leader Saulos Chilima saying her brother-in-law, President Peter Mutharika, was "too old" for another term and thus should step down.

In Zomba Central, UTM's patron Noel Masangwi was trailing behind a DPP candidate.

Also, in Mzimba Solola, UTM's Beatrice Kumwenda was trailing a distant third after MCP's Jacob Hara.

It was doubtful if UTM would get more than five parliamentarians in the elections.

The polls were well-attended, with voter enthusiasm as Malawians flocked to both urban and rural centres to cast their votes for the presidential hopefuls - the most highly contested category of the tripartite polls - and left international observers from Africa and overseas impressed with the peaceful conduct of the exercise.

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