In the run up to the May 21, 2019 Tripartite elections, days of fierce political fight seem far from over between the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the breakaway United Transformation Movement (UTM) of State vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima.
Some former senior DPP members who defected from the ruling party formed UTM to challenge President Peter Mutharika and DPP at the polls after their agitation that the party fields the “youthful” Chilima as its presidential candidate next year against Mutharika failed.
Since its inception a few months ago, UTM leaders have criticised the Head of State and his government as corrupt and incapable of taking the country to higher social and economic development levels.
DPP has not taken lightly UTM’s public slurs against it and its leadership. On various, occasions and forum, DPP senior officials have called the movement leaders a ‘frustrated lot’ that did not achieve their ulterior wishes to steal from Malawians and impose Chilima as leader on DPP and its membership.
However, on Thursday, September 6, 2019, DPP intensified its onslaught on UTM, describing the political grouping as comprising of “thieves, crooks and prostitutes”.
This was during a DPP whistle-stop tour of four Mulanje constituencies of Bale, Pasani, Southwest and South where the guest of honour was the party’s vice president responsible for southern region and minister of local government and rural development, Kondwani Nankhumwa.
DPP secretary general, Greselder Jeffery wa Jeffery went to town on UTM, saying the movement’s leadership is insulting Malawians’ intelligence “by promising them the moon”.
“They are daydreamers; they think Malawians are so brainless to believe their lies about economic emancipation,” said Wa Jeffrey.
“The DPP has already achieved and Malawians have eyes to see how much president Mutharika and his government had transformed this country, socially and economically,” she said, adding that she has doubts that UTM would survive on political terrain beyond December this year.
Among its pledges, UTM’s leader Chilima has promised the movement would create 1 million jobs “within one year”.
“UTM will be deleted from the face of Malawi politics by December, I can assure you. UTM is a bunch of ungrateful and crooked creatures that are merely power hungry and not service to the people of Malawi,” said the outspoken DPP secretary general.
Advisor to the president on political affairs, Francis Mphepo concurred with Jeffrey, calling Chilima “ungrateful” to President Mutharika who picked him “from nowhere” and made him what he is today- second-in-command.
“He was a mere mobile phone airtime vendor; it was the president who invited him to be his presidential running mate in the 2014 elections. Now he has the audacity to call the president, his own mentor, names. He is cursed,” said Mphepo.
DPP regional governor for southern region, Charles Mchacha called UTM “a group of Satanists who light a candle in daylight”. UTM has a burning candle as its symbol.
“Their official colour is red that represents blood. How can Malawians support such a satanic movement,” said Mchacha, who went on to accuse some unnamed UTM leaders as thugs, thieves and prostitutes, saying the DPP is lucky “to have done away with such destructive characters”.
UTM leader Chilima is expected to lead his movement at Namphungo in Mulanje west constituency where there is a scheduled political rally on Monday.
Patricia Kaliati is MP for Mulanje west. She is UTM secretary general. Before she defected, she was DPP national women’s director.
Ironically, her husband, Angie Kaliati remains DPP MP for the bordering Mulanje Pasani constituency.
In his speeches at all venues, Nankhumwa called on party leaders to remain united and work towards wooing more people to join the ruling party in order to guarantee victory in 2019. He also called upon everyone to register as voters so that they are able to vote in May 2019.