JB’s runningmate choice: Khumbo in the cold

President Joyce Banda has made a choice of who will be her running mate in the May 20 elections and the choice has been described as a ‘reformist’ ticket by ruling People’s Party (PP) insiders who tipped Nyasa Times.

Asked if State Vice President Khumbo Kachali has been the preferred choice, the well  placed sources said President Banda has gone for a “formidable politician.”

Kachali, the PP has always argued, was not an automatic running mate.

Banda’s hunt for running mate has of late caused friction within the PP.

President Banda living Vice President Khumbo Kachali in suspense
President Banda living Vice President Khumbo Kachali in suspense

The party has been hawking names to the President that should partner her include that of the Minister of Information, evangelist Brown Mpinganjira, Minister of Good Governance Chris Daza,  PP vice president for central region Uladi Mussa, while others wanted to maintain the status quo of having Banda and Kachali on the ballot.

Kachali however has been falling the pecking order over the Mponela bed-scandal and the rude remarks in Karonga as well as the purported links he has to the Cash-gate scandal.

He  has also been challenged  by Raymond Nkhata, the only Member of Parliament (MP) to have won a seat on PP ticket, who has declared that he will challenge the Vice-President in the race for the Mzimba South West Constituency seat as an independent candidate.

Nkhata succeeded Kachali in an October 2012 by-election after Kachali lost the parliamentary seat by virtue of his appointment as Vice-President.

The runningmate crisis in PP has also seen Mpinganjira being linked to be the source of infighting that has seen others losing trust of the President as he repositioned himself to be closer to the power and managed to ascend to the post of vice president in the southern region following the resignation of his foe Sidik Mia.

President Banda is expected to name her runningmate as nominations of presidential candidates begin February 10. She will be the last to file her papers on Friday February 14 with DPP president Peter Mutharika being the first to present his.

Asked if vesting power in the presidential candidate to choose a running mate was best practice in a democracy, a political scientist Augustine Magolowondo said from a practical point of view, such a system allows a presidential candidate to choose somebody they may work with without problems.

Magolowondo said Malawi’s system of electing a president together with their vice gives voters a chance to vote for a particular team or not, unlike in other countries where a winning presidential candidate appoints a vice-president

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