President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has preferred United Democratic Front (UDF) president Austin Atupele (AA) Muluzi as his running mate in fresh presidential elections which will decide the future of his tenure, Nyasa Times understands.
Mutharika is scheduled to present his nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Thursday 3pm in Blantyre.
Speculations were rife that Mutharika would maintain Everton Chimulirenji whose vice-presidency was scrapped by the Constitutional Court in the widely-publicised election case.
In 2019, Mutharika stunned DPP politburo and enthusiasts when he picked little-known Chimulirenji, then Ntcheu North East legislator, at a Ginnery Corner roundabout in Blantyre just minutes before officially presenting his nomination papers to the electoral body.
But Chimulirenji this time around was spotted on the road coming from Lilongwe to Blantyre on Thursday to attend the nomination exercise.
He remains a royal and influential member of the Mutharika government as Minister of Disaster Management.
However, Atupele had been in Blantyre for two days and on Wednesday was in Thyolo distributing social cushions and coronavirus protective equipment with Minister of Gender Mary Navicha.
There are strong indications from both DPP and UDF camps that it will be APM and AA ticket.
From the DPP officials that Nyasa Times has spoken to, it seems APM’s choice of Atupele has support within their ranks considering their electoral alliance in place.
But DPP spokesman Nicholous Dausi could not confirm the running mate choice, saying “I do not want to pre-empt the announcement by the President.”
While UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga kept on being elusive on the matter and keep a tight lid.
“The torchbearer for DPP-UDF alliance is Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and on running mate I will come back to you,” he said.
Speaking on Zodiak Broadcasting Station television live from the nomination centre in Blantyre on Thursday monring, Ndaga maintained that Mutharika will announce his running mate, saying “let us cross the bridge when we reach there.”
Political and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said from an accountability perspective, “citizens need to know the candidates in good time to make an informed choice.”
Mustafa Hussein, from the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, says announcing at eleventh hour is a good political strategy.
Mutharika now he faces stiff competition from a united opposition front after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party sealed an electoral alliance and has featured presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera with estranged country’s vice-president Saulos Chilima as his running mate on MCP ticket representing ‘Tonse Alliance’ of nine parties.
On February 3 2020, a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court nullified Mutharika’s May 21 2019 victory in the first case where results of a presidential election were subjected to a full trial.
However, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is set to rule on Friday on whether to proceed with the polls as determined by the lower court or not.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :