State Vice-President Saulos Chilima who has expressed his interest to be on the presidential ballot paper in the 2019 Tripartite Elections has branded a possible ticket with United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Austin Muluzi as “unique combination” to steer the country’s development agenda.
In an exclusive interview with privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) Wednesday evening, Chilima who dumped the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accusing it of being riddled with corruption, nepotism and cronyism, spoke positively of young Muluzi and that his UDF is one of the parties in the proposed grand electoral coalition.
Chilima said he would welcome an opportunity to partner with Muluzi, who is Minister of Health and Population in Mutharika’s Cabinet, on a presidential ticket if both sides agreed.
“We could explore how best a partnership could be structured. It presents a unique combination. Obviously, what is the heat of the moment is the ‘youth quake’, but obviously it is not just the issue of age, but youth who are progressive, delivering.
“It [the Chilima-Muluzi ticket] is an opportunity of two vibrant young men. We could see if we can present the partnership; it’s give and take.”
Commenting in a Whatsapp Group of UDF members, musician-cum-politician Lucius Banda said Chilima-Muluzi would indeed be a dream ticket.
But Muluzi said his party, which formed the country’s first multiparty administration in 1994 led by his father Bakili Muluzi, holds its convention on August 1 and he has no mandate yet to discuss any strategies for 2019.
“So, I cannot offer any decisions about partnerships at this stage [until after convention],” he said.
But Lucius Banda, the Balaka North legislator indicated if Chilima and Muluzi would work together he would not be contemplating on presidential run because it will be a good ticket for ‘youthquake’.
This comes at the time when some youth have rolled out a national elections campaign, code-named Youth Decide 2019, to dial up youth energies and active participation ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The campaign’s team leader Charles Kajoloweka said ‘Youth Decide 2019’ is a national campaign to amplify the voices of the youth when it comes to elections.
”It focuses on creating space for active participation of young people in the forthcoming elections. We want the youth to decide the future of this country in next year’s elections. The opportunity and potential is there because the youth are in majority. But to achieve that, we need first of all to organise ourselves to consolidate a powerful youth campaign,” Kajoloweka said.
Prevailing statistics show that during the forthcoming elections, the youth, aged 15-39, will constitute 39 percent of the 17.2 million population, forming a large constituent of both voters and contestants.
“The fact that youths constitute over 60 percent of the total Malawi’s population makes it a foregone conclusion that almost all the development challenges facing Malawi bear a youth face. Despite being in clear majority, evidence shows that most youths have not actively participated in political and governance processes in Malawi. There are fewer youthful Malawians than old people that participate in politics, especially in elections.
“Fewer youths than old people have contested in the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections or participate in front-line civil activism. The forthcoming elections in Malawi, therefore, presents a golden opportunity for the ordinary and marginalised young women and men who are in the majority and hungry for change to mobilise and organise themselves.”
Meanwhile, Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation, on a Thursday focused its editorial comment on Chilima’s comments during the televised interview.
The paper expressed the hope that Chilima and his associates will draw to be different politicians, by among others, rising above the First by focusing on issues other than pettiness and politics that concentrated on attacking personalities.
But it urged Chilima and his Transformation Movement to clearly outline their agenda for Malwi beyond 2019.
“They should tell Malawiand why they should be entrusted with governing the country,” urges the paper.
It also said Chilima should now forfeit his private life now that he aspires to be tenant of State House and let Malawians know what type of person he is.
SKC – Saulos Klaus Chilima- should be prepared to be in the limelight like other aspirants.
The paper wished Chilima well as, like any qualifying Malawian, he is out to exercise his constitutional right to bid for a public office of bid choice.
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