Nnesa, Chibambo, Chisi, Katsonga: Other Malawi presidential candidates

They all are, to be frank, lightweights if their political muscle is anything to go by. Much as Nnesa, Katsonga and Chibambo have been around Malawi’s political circles for some time, the fact is that they are still not forces to reckon with, and can be safely equated to Professor John Chisi of Umodzi Party. In this entry, Nyasa Times’  Special Projects & Supplements Editor Pius Nyondo profiles Nnesa of Mafunde who is leading the Tisintha Alliance, Chibambo of Petra,  Chisi of Umodzi Party Davis Chester Katsonga of Chipani Cha Pfuko.

 George Nnesa

Nnesa

Nnesa

He is dangerously ambitious. His party, Mafunde, has in the past two if not three general elections lost out big time. But with the courage and determination of ants, George Nnesa has soldiered on.

On Tuesday, he is sure he is going to take over government considering “the support that we have at the grassroots.”

He told Nyasa Times last week: “People are tired of mediocre leadership. It is only Tisintha Alliance that can bail them out – nothing else.”

Should Malawians vote someone else, he has time and again claimed, the country will continue wallowing in socio-eco-political madness.

And maybe he is just right considering the immeasurable courage he has showcased.

That he is a man who craves for nothing but the truth is no doubt.

Sometime in 2012 Nnesa challenged then Finance Minister Ken Lipenga that the zero-deficit budget – that had been introduced under the auspices of Bingu wa Mutharika and was said to be working – was a total illusion.

He said government was doctoring figures to give an impression that it [the zero-deficit] was working when that wasn’t the case on the ground. Government was at him with the best of their coined rebuttals calling him a liar.

But lo! Weeks if not months later, it was found out that Nnesa had been right. The zero-deficit had never worked before. It was sheer doctoring of figures as Nnesa had claimed and borrowing of money from local banks. Money the government was failing to pay.

So, Nnesa is the kind of man who, despite his weak political muscle, can look government authorities in the face and tell them that they are getting it all wrong.

Maybe that is why his constituents in Balaka South trust him that much. He has been a parliamentarian there for some good two if not three terms – successively.

TISINTHA ALLIANCE

Everyone calls Tisintha Alliance a force comprising briefcase parties, and therefore not a force at all.

And then with the resignation of Sylvester Chabuka – who was Nnesa’s running – the party is in a disturbing fuss.  Chabuka’s resignation is the worst blow the Alliance has suffered.

After Chabuka’s resignation, BBC correspondent for Malawi and renowned columnist Raphael Tenthani wrote: “Granted, the so-called Tisintha Alliance cannot have any impact on the outcome of the May 20 tripartite elections.”

But that is not to say that Nnesa is completely out of the game. No. Malawians will have their say.

 Kamuzu ChibamboKAMUZU CHIBAMBO

Kamuzu Chibambo is another Malawian politician who must be a strong believer in miracles.

And; of course, one cannot be surprised. He is a devoted Christian by faith – “currently a trustee and advisory board member of Word Alive Ministries International.”

You see, Chibambo will be running for the country’s presidency for the third time this year and – much as he has failed in the last two elections – something tells him to keep of trying.

Faith – solid faith for sure.

Ethiopian writer and lawyer Hama Tuma once said that pray to God but don’t expect miracles; but, it seems, Chibambo is praying unceasingly to his God – and expecting a miracle on May 20.

 CHIBAMBO, THE LAWYER

That Chibambo is a respected lawyer and well regarded in the Malawian society is of no doubt.

He holds an LL M in Business and Trade Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam in Holland and an LL B from Chancellor College, University of Malawi.

Chibambo was called to the bar in 1983, and has been practicing ever since.

Chibambo is also a Law Consultant with special interest in Corporate Law. He is the founder and Senior Partner of Chibambo & Company, a Law Firm established in September, 2004. Prior to 2004, he was in Partnership in another Law Firm known as Mbendera Chibambo & Associates for 9 years, 8 ½ years with Savjani & Company and 4 years with the former Commercial Bank of Malawi Limited.

 CHIBAMBO, THE POLITICIAN

Chibambo is the president of People’s Transformation Party (PETRA) which was established in 2002 in response to poor governance and corruption. PETRA participated in 2004 General Elections; it secured 1 (One) Parliamentary seat despite stiff competition and strong barriers to entry.

Chibambo has demonstrable qualities of a consistent, steadfast and focused leader. He has steered Petra from inception and is renowned for objectivity, consistency and pragmatism.

In March, 2011 Kamuzu was key in the mobilization of 7 Opposition Political Parties which led to several initiatives that were jointly undertaken like holding press conferences on critical issues facing Malawi. His leadership experience dates back to High School days in the seventies when he became a School Prefect.

At University level, Kamuzu was elected President of the Chancellor College Students’ Union in 1980.

Professor John Chisi

Prof. Chisi

Prof. Chisi

Formerly with University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, Chisi is an esteemed medical personality with a strong bias in haematology.

He is an internationally distinguished man in the field, and boasts of a number of academic credentials attached to his name.

Chisi shocked many when he, despite being very knew to the Malawi political landscape, announced his presidential candidature for the May 20 tripartite polls.

He founded his party Umodzi Party (UP), which he will represent.

Some quarters in the society have advised that Chisi would have done better if he had joined others; but, the soft-spoken politician has “ideologies immensely different from others” and thus cannot go into an alliance.

He is a strong believer in feudalism, and believes that things must work bottom-up not otherwise if Malawi must develop.

The common man must be first in everything, he has relentlessly argued.

During the second presidential debate, for example, Chisi said that he would make sure that there is a referral hospital in all the districts in Malawi so that health services are readily available to the people.

An excellent idea, it is.

But as NPL’s award winning journalist Munthali argued, Chisi “remains a political novice.”

 PROFESSORIAL CONFIDENCE

Chisi has the confidence and consistency of a professor.

For him it is no retreat no surrender. He believes in himself and is optimistic that he will make it on May 20.

He did not turn back when the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) barred his candidature on grounds that he not resigned from public office, and for sure he cannot this time.

“I’m a professor; I know how things are done in other countries and I’m sure I’m going to make it happen in Malawi as well. Umodzi Party will build more schools, employ more teachers and drive Malawi towards industrialization,” Chisi toldNyasa Times in April.

 Davis Chester Katsonga

Deavis Chester Katsonga

Deavis Chester Katsonga

And the most interesting of these four is Davis Chester Katsonga – founder of Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) which he will represent on May 20. His running mate is Godfrey Matenganya.

Davis Chester Katsonga was born on 6th August, 1955. He has been Defence Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and was once Speaker of the Malawi parliament.

In May 2007, President Bingu wa Mutharika removed him from his post in the Defence Ministry under pressure from the Malawi Defence Force officers who demanded his removal.

Katsonga has also held important public offices before including being Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) chair.

Much as his brother Mark Katsonga leads People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) which he would have comfortably joined, Davis chose otherwise and formed his own.

Different ideologies – may be.

Davis will be contesting his own brother in the May 20 tripartite elections.

Conclusion

Nnesa, Chibambo, Chisi and Katsonga must not be completely discarded come Tuesday in the May 20 tripartite elections. All, it seems, have the faith that can move mountains in as far as their beliefs that they will win the elections is concerned.

Every vote counts, and, these four are dependent on Malawians’ votes come May 20.

But as we always say at Nyasa Times, let Malawians decide on May 20.

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