By Towera Chisi, MEC Stringer
Incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Balaka North constituency, Lucius Banda, who is seeking re-election in the forthcoming Tripartite Elections on UTM party ticket, will be challenged by six other candidates — Bakali Stern (UDF), Mambo Andiwatch (MCP), Mangadzuwa Francis (DPP) and independents; Ibrahim Daudi, Tony Ngalande and Fletcher Padoko.
In 2014, Lucius won the parliamentary seat on UDF ticket but before the UDF convection in August last year, he announced his plans to challenge current party president Atupele Muluzi.
However, weeks before the convection which was held at Chichiri Convention Hall in Blantyre, Lucius pulled out of the race, dumped the party and joined the State Vice-president Saulos Chilima’s United Transformation Movement, which later became the UTM Party.
He was later elected as UTM national campaign director at its convection in December.
After presenting nomination papers at Chembera TDC in Balaka on Friday, Lucius called on the people to vote for him as MP and Chilima as president and for him to continue development activities he started in 2014.
“In 2014, you trusted me and we have initiated many development projects together. We have to continue with this development agenda, and we can only do that by voting for Lucius Banda as MP and Chilima as president,” he said.
Asked if he is shaken considering that Balaka is regarded a stronghold of UDF, Lucius — a veteran musician whose songs touch on the welfare of the poor — said people of Balaka North chose him in 2014 and not the party.
“As such I am confident to retain the seat,” he said.