UTM Party president Saulos Chilima has been offered a “take it or leave it” deal by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in an attempt to form a an electoral alliance by the end of the week which MCP presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera will be the torchbearer as presidential candidate while Chilima will get the running mate position.
The UTM Party leader, who is the country’s vice-president, is expected to take a stand before sealing the deal.
Chilima and Chakwera—the duo that secured the landmark judgement by the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election on February 3 2020— have been having discussions on the alliance and are expected to meet again for dinner on Monday to finalise finer details.
Nyasa Times understands that the alliance deal also gives UTM to control 50 percent Cabinet and other public appointments.
As vice-president, Chilima will be tasked to run day-to-day government activities with more powers to be enshrined in the Constitution through an amendment than just being delegated.
The deal also says MCP will get 30 percent Cabinet positions and other coalition partners will get 20 percent.
In the run-up to the annulled presidential election, Chakwera partnered former president Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) as well as the country’s former vice-president Khumbo Kachali and his Freedom Party. The partnership between MCP and the two is still intact.
MCP has said it will take the presidency because of its numerical strength in Parliament (55 legislators against UTM’s measly four) to claim that it is bigger than UTM and a Head of State should not have a hang parliament.
Chilima is yet to confirm is he is to settle for number two in an MCP-UTM alliance as he is already vice-president and has been one for five years—a position that comes with a life-long pension.
He is short of getting the most prized position of Presidency, which he has been making it openly.
Political analysts say from the two previous results, the probability is that Chilima will most certainly still come third in the fresh elections should he go solo but can be a highly prized and sought-after partner in the ensuing run-off if no candidate reaches the 50%+1 threshold.
MCP Publicity Secretary, Maurice Munthali, told Times Radio that a news conference will be held to announce details of the alliance.
“MCP gave powers to the president who came up with a committee to discuss with UTM for a possible alliance. The two committees have been meeting and what we can tell Malawians is that let us pray for these talks and for our leaders so that something good can come out of these talks. At an appropriate time, Malawians will be told the outcome of the talks,” Munthali said.
UTM spokesman Joseph Chidanti Malunga said “information” will be released when they finish their talks.
Both MCP and UTM Party developed their manifestos which they touted as geared towards bailing Malawians out of abject poverty, drive away deep-rooted corruption and create job opportunities for the youths, among other issues.
The UTM manifesto clearly indicates how it will deal with corrupt leadership, saying that the party shall empower the National Construction Industry Council (NCIC) in the enforcement of the Construction Industry Act and the code of ethics.
The manifesto further hints that the party supports civil society initiatives such as those under the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in working with State enforcement agencies such as the Anti–Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Auditor General and the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) to ensure accountability and transparency in awarding contracts.
UTM also promises that the sitting president shall be stripped of immunity so that he or she should be prosecuted whenever found to be involved in corrupt practices while still serving as the State president.
On agriculture, UTM promises a universal fertiliser subsidy with a 50 kilogramme bag pegged at K4 500. The party also promises to introduce mega farms to ensure mass production of crops such as maize, cotton and rice as well as employment.
Further, Chilima passionately pledged to create one million jobs within the first 12 months in office.
In its manifesto which party officials described as a “diagnosis of the problems Malawians are facing and a prescription to the economic and human development ailments Malawians are going through”, MCP focuses on challenges facing the agricultural sector.
Specifically on agriculture, MCP promises farmers a universal subsidy programme which according to officials will see all Malawians regardless of their status having access to cheaper prices of farm inputs.
Both MCP and UTM, through their manifestos, fault the design and implementation of the targeted Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) which for the past 15 years has been providing subsidised inputs to ultra-poor Malawians.
The two parties speak a similar language, particularly on agriculture and anti-corruption fight drive.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :