State Vice-President Saulos Chilima who has got the mandate as president of the new kid on the block, UTM Party, told its first-ever elective conference in Lilongwe on Monday evening that his party is set to reshape the future of the country and give it a “whole new direction’.
Chilima said in his acceptance speech after the conventionendorsed him as UTM’s torch-bearer in May 21 2019 tripartite election andelected office bearers as well as ratified the party’s constitution and part of its manifesto.
“We cannot continue in the ‘business-as-usual’ manner in which our country has been run,” said Chilima, 45, who is seen as a young challenger to President Peter Mutharika, 79, who won the election in 2014, two years after his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, died while serving as president.
“Our calling is a call to service and to reclaim Malawi.”
He urged UTM leadership to be sacrificers but not butchers, saying they should take election as a call to serve.
“We are not here for self-serving,” stressed Chilima.
He added: “UTM is not about positions. Our calling is a call to service.”
Chilima paid tribute to founding chairperson Noel Masangwi, founding treasurer general Richard Makondi, Speaker of National Assembly Richard Msowoya, who did not vie for any position at the convention to pave way for others while pledging their support to the party.
He proposed that Masangwi should become UTM patron and other party founders will have different roles to play, acknowledging their contributions and sacrifices.
Among those he saluted includes Dr Ben Chidyaonga, Chikumbutso Hiwa, Richard Makondi, Lewis Ngalande, Mzimba North legislator Agness Nyalonje Shawa, Dr Michael Usi and Newton Kambala.
UTM was registered as a political party in October after the court ordered the registrar of political parties to register the party when he had rejected its applications because of the name.
The Vice-President broke ranks with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on June 6 this year and declared he will challenge President Mutharika in the presidential race in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chilima—whom Mutharika picked as running mate from the private sector in January 2014 where he served as Airtel Malawi managing director—had a visibly rosy relationship with the establishment until his declaration and the President subsequently stripped him his Cabinet portfolio of minister Responsible for Disaster Management Affairs and in-charge of National Public Events.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :