Former Minister of Transport and Public Works, Sidik Mia, who was also vice president for the ruling People’s Party (PP) before his resignation on Friday has been tipped for running-mate by the country’s leading opposition, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), whose May 20 presidential candidate, is Lazarus Chakwera, Nyasa Times understands.
Mia is also sitting MP for Chikhwawa Mkombezi Constituency.
At a recent MCP national executive committee (NEC) meeting held in Lilongwe, the name of Mia was announced, discussed at length in terms of its merits and demerits and favourably voted for.
“The MCP NEC endorsed Mia’s name as ideal and suitable in terms of the voting dynamics that characterize elections in Malawi,” a member of MCP NEC who attended the meeting confided to Nyasa Times.
“It is just as good as a done deal,” he added, but asked for anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on such matters.
But Mia, 49, said he wants to reflect on his future. He’s coy about rumours he is being courted as a running mate for Chakwera.
He declined to comment much on the rumour, saying “only time will tell” what his next move will be.
Announcing his resignation, Mia did not give any reasons for his decision, only that it was made after “wide consultation, spiritual and personal reflection”.
PP officials were claiming on Saturday that Mia had resigned because he was not chosen running mate for President Banda in the upcoming elections.
“He feels he has done a lot in support of the party in terms of providing his personal resources, and, thus, deserves to be running mate,” said a PP insider.
“He also feels that some individuals in the party are working hard to frustrate him by among other things bad-mouthing him to the President,” the source added.
Nyasa Times learnt that in recent days PP flags were being removed at Mia’s Lower Shire house in Ngabu.
“I think the plan to make this political switch has been long coming,” a PP insider explained. “You remember that Mia’s wife, Abidah, who had shown interest to contest in Nsanje South, just fizzled out like that?”
“No reason of substance has ever been given for her decision. Now when her husband is making these decisions, it really doesn’t come as a surprise,” the source added.
It is said by those who know him that Mia’s decisions are always fuelled by opportunism.
“In the Bingu administration he was probably the closest to the late president. But when Bingu died, he was the first to sneak out to Joyce Banda, knowing that it was now her who possessed keys to opportunity,” said one of those who worked with Mia in DPP. “He did not even attend the vigil at the funeral house.”
Political analyst Edge Kanyongolo at the University of Malawi said Mia’s departure is a “body blow” as Malawi’s first female leader makes her debut at elections in May. Banda became president in 2012 when the former president died.
Banda’s adviser Elias Wakuda Kamanga played down the development, saying it would not hurt the party or the president.
In August last year MCP elected the cleric-turned-politician as its president and presidential candidate for the May 20 elections.
The coming in of the former Assemblies of God president has re-energised the MCP’s central region stronghold.
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