It appears President Lazarus Chakwera will not pave way for his deputy, Saulos Chilima, according to their “agreement” as rumoured all along following Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign director Moses Kunkuyu’s utterances that the former will likely go for the constitutional second and final term of office in 2025.
There have been heightening disagreements between MCP and UTM Party media teams on who would be Tonse Alliance torchbearer in the next elections.
Apparently, rumour has been rife that prior to their scheme to dislodge the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the two had agreed that Chakwera would rule for one five-year term and then Chilima would take over.
But, it seems, there was never such an agreement.
‘Chakwera to contest again’
Speaking during Kamuzu Day commemorations in Chirimba Township, Blantyre last week, Kunkuyu was upbeat that Chakwera would seek another term in the next presidential election.
His remarks have sparked controversy amongst Malawians, as prior to last year’s Fresh Presidential Election, Chilima, on record, mentioned that the presidency would rotate between the Tonse Alliance major partners, MCP and UTM Party.
The Tonse Alliance comprises nine other partners that include Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Umodzi Party (UP) and People’s Party (PP).
According to Kunkuyu, a former information minister in during the Joyce Banda administration before he formed his Transformation Alliance (TA) which he disbanded and joined MCP, “both the country’s Constitution and that of MCP allow Chakwera to seek another term.”
Much ado about nothing
Reacting to Kunkuyu’s remarks, UTM Party spokesman Frank Mwenifumbo said much as the former had the freedom to expression, his opinion did not have a bearing on his party.
Mwenifumbo urged MCP to concentrate on helping the two leaders to develop the country instead of focusing on politics.
“I just want to remind you that Dr Chilima has always appealed to Malawians to disengage from a campaign mode. We have just come from a campaign where too many promises were made and have to be fulfilled.
“We cannot make any comments on events that will take place in 2025. If anything, we are occupied with creating a very conducive environment for Dr Chakwera to implement and deliver what was promised. Matters of elections are not a priority now for UTM Party,” Mwenifumbo told The Nation.
‘Clear the mist’
Both political and administrative lecturer at the University of Malawi, Happy Kayuni, and political analyst, George Phiri, have asked MCP and UTM Party leaders to clear the mist on the said agreement on rotational presidency.
Kayuni said “the confusion [between UTM Party and MCP] is arising as a result of failure and Chilima to orient their stewards on the deal they signed.”
According to Kayuni, all structures within the Alliance “are confused on what message to send to the grassroots” and have now resorted to championing the causes of individual parties ahead of the 2025 elections.
While UTM Party is popular among Malawi’s youthful population, it has poor structures on the ground. The party has 5 parliamentarians against MCP’s 55.
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