Political and governance experts have spoken on the criteria that presidential candidates should use to pick their runningmates in the May 21 Tripartite Electiosn and speculations countinue on who incumbent President Peter Mutharika leading the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima of UTM Party will pair with.
Henry Chingaipe, a political governance analyst, described the choice of particular individuals who can bring votes to the lead candidates as the main element parties consider, especially those that keep identities of their running mates under wraps.
“You will see that people who think that regionalism matters in terms of votes will emphasise on recruiting a running mate who comes from a region help presidential candidates to gain votes and win the government,” said Chingaipe in quotes reported by Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation on Tuesday.
He said others think that in this particular election, “religious diversity will be an important issues and they are probably searching for a potential running mate that comes from a different religion from theirs.”
Chingaipe said other factors the Mutharika, Chilima , Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front -UDF) and Joyce Banda (People’s Party –PP) could consider are “intergeneration gap” in the saense that if a presidential candidate is seen to be of advanced age, they are better off chosing someone younger who appeals to the youth.
“When you look at the matrics, you may find that all these variable are what presidential candidates are looking for in running mates that becomes very difficult,
“Still others will think of gender… If a candidate is male they will settle for a female partner at the ballot,” said Chingaipe as quoted by the paper.
The daily also quoted University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based political commentator Ernest Thindwa who pointed out that “unfortunately” in Malawi “we do not vote on the basis of the competence of our political candidates but along ethnic and regional lines.”
Thindwa mentioned constant sour relationships between presidents and vice-presidents and the subsequent relegation of the Office of the Vice-President as a consequence of ignoring the capacity aspect.
Chingaipe agreed with Thindwa, saying the whole idea of elections has been flawed.
“ Even our choice of President has never been based on criteria where you elect a candidate to deliver a specific agenda because we do not have a national agenda or the basis of looking at the job and finding out who is suitable,” he said.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, Tikonze People’s Movement led by former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha and independent hopeful Ras Chikomeni Kadelere Chirwa have already made public their running mates.
Chakwera announced his party’s first vice-president Mohammad Sidik Mia as his running mate on December 2 2018 ostensibly because the MCP membership entrusted Mia to be his deputy at the convention.
Chikomeni, on the other hand, said he is picking his mother Niness Kayengo as his running mate because she has been his adviser all his life while Chilumpha has settled for People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) president Mark Katsonga, a partner in their coalition.
The winning presidential candidate and running mate eventually become the country’s President and Vice-President, respectively. In the event of the President’s death, incapacitate, impeachment or resignation, the Vice-President takes over.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :