Salima North West legislator Jessie Kabwila, who ditched main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to join UTM, yesterday went unopposed in UTM primary elections.
The development comes after her contender Moses Buwa, who was also one of the competitors in the MCP primary elections, withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour as he did not pay a K50 000 fee.
UTM officials postponed primaries in all five constituencies in the district to finalise some logistics that included creating areas from where 376 delegates were drawn for voting in her constituency.
In an interview after the elections, Kabwila said she will woo constituents to vote for Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is the party’s torchbearer in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
She said: “Now that I have won the primaries, I will fight hard to ensure that Chilima gets all the votes in the constituency.”
In Chitala Ward, Misheck Chizinga was elected as the party’s representative while Lipimbi Ward councillor Everson Mpayani, who is also Salima District Council chairperson, was unanimously endorsed as the torch bearer.
Chizinga got 184 votes while McDymon Kunjira and Blessings Eneya Phala got 173 and 19 votes respectively.
UTM is planning to hold a rally in Kabwila’s constituency on Saturday to welcome her in the party.
Also present at the venue was UTM director of political affairs Anita Kalinde who encouraged voters to elect UTM candidates on May 21.
Meanwhile, UTM has conducted primaries in three constituencies in Salima but failed to do the same in Salima South West and Salima South.
Last week, the party set out on an ambitious task to conduct primaries in all 193 constituencies and 452 wards nationwide, but challenges led to cancellation of the polls in some areas.
The party said yesterday it will finalise conducting the primaries on Saturday this week.