The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator for Nkhotakota North and former Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, has said he is endorsing Tonse Alliance, for the fresh presidential elections and urged Malawians to vote for it.
Chimunthu Banda, who in March 2020 turned down a Cabinet post, claiming he was never consulted by President Peter Mutharika before the announcement was made, told his constituents in Nkhotakota that he is backing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Cakwera.
“Change is here in the leadership of Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima who will take Malawi to a next level,” he said.
Chakwera and his UTM Party counterpart Saulos Chilima, who is also the country’s Vice-President, are president and runningmate, respectively, of the Tonse Alliance which has a nine-party membership.
“I have been convinced that Malawians are desiring change of direction and my constituents are endorsing Tonse Alliance. Therefore, I also come along to be party to Tonse,” said Chimunthu Banda, who once served as DPP secretary general.
The former Speaker said he has assessed the political situation before coming up with his decision.
“I have made an assessment of the political situation and the developments in DPP . After taking a huge amount of thought, I feel Tonse Alliance is the way to go,” he said.
Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that Chimunthu Banda endorsement is “a morale boost” to the Tonse Alliance just a few days before the elections.
“Here is a man who commands the respect of many across political divide, and every political grouping would want to be associated with him,” said Munthali.
He added: “It was apparently clear that Chimunthu’s approach to politics was not in sync with the current DPP under Mutharika. His rejection of a Cabinet post was a clear signal that he was not party to be associated with the DPP way of life.”
Munthali said Chimunthu’s endorsement of Tonse Alliance is a question of protecting his good legacy having successfuly served as a leader of the House and head of the Legislature.
“In other words he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history,” he said.
Chimunthu Banda, who had previously served in various ministerial positions, was in March appointed into Mutharika’s bloated 32-member Cabinet as Minister of Natural Resources and Mining.
He turned down the offer after weighing the packages he is getting as former Speaker which is equivalent to that of an ex-State vice-president.
In 2014, government approved the creation of the Office of the Former Speaker whose benefits are similar to those of a former vice-president.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :