UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, who is also the State vice-president, has said he is open to have “a conversation” with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has entered into electoral alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF) to form a grand coalition in the run up to proposed May 19 2020 first ever fresh presidential elections.
Chilima said this on Tuesday evening in an exclusive television interview with privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
“I will get into an alliance with anybody, as long as, we are fighting a common cause,” said Chilima in apparent reference to a barren talks he had with UDF on electoral alliance.
Asked by the maverick TV journalist, Joab Frank Chakhaza, if in the “same spirit” he could get into an alliance with DPP “because they are also anybody”, Chilima said the stand-offs never solve problems.
“Well, we can get into a discussion with them and see whether an alliance is possible or not,” said Chilima.
Pressed if that would be an ideal situation considering that he dumped DPP in 2018 to form UTM, Chilima said: “Have a conversation, see what they have to say and you decide.”
Chilima clarified that he only parted ways with DPP and not dumped, saying “we don’t know who dumped who”.
He said: “The mistake we make is to think that you want to paint everybody with the same brush.”
Chilima continued: “What has happened in the past has happened in the past, we must move on. We will never get to the past; we must be planning the future based on what we have learnt in the past.”
The UTM leader also struck a tone of an olive branch.
“Remember first and foremost we are human beings. We are Malawians. We relate. And the fact that there are people that would be friends and some of them indeed people that I have known for so many years that are still DPP. The fact that they are still DPP it doesn’t mean that they are my enemies. We differ in our thinking and we should respect that.
“But if there was need for a conversation, let’s understand what the conversation is about and what sorts of decisions are being asked to be made. At that point we then say look ladies and gentlemen I agree with this or I don’t agree with this and thank you very much we will continue as we are,” said Chilima.
Chilima said there has not been any conversation with DPP on alliance.
The vice-president said he has not met President Mutharika “even to discuss anything of national interest.”
But Chiima said UTM would want to engage on what would be a good alliance.
“We need to think about the desired state of the country, how do we get there and who leads us there. There has to be a semblance of convergence of our manifestos.
“If not, the alliance will collapse . If we fail to get into meaningful alliance, we will go it alone. We are giving alliances a chance. But if nothing comes up we will go it alone,” said Chilima.
Commentators have backed the idea for parties to enter into electoral alliances or coalition to enhance national unity, especially where parties going into them have similar philosophies, ideologies and focus.
But they caution that such electoral political combinations can be toxic and compromise democracy where the parties go in with self-serving interests.
In its editorial comment, Malawi’s daily newspaper, The Nation, stated that for a healthy democracy, electoral alliances should not be mooted merely to win an election.
“Rather, they should be supported by followers of the respective parties and promote a collective agenda that is in sync with helping in economic growth and development,” reads the editorial comment.
The paper states that alliances should serve the best interests of Malawians and ensure a better nation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :