Khumbo ‘furious’ with JB’s running mate choice: Gwengwe

Vice President Khumbo Hastings Kachale is disillusioned with President Joyce Banda for not considering him as running mate so that he can be maintained as the country’s second in command following reports that  the President has picked  Trade Minister Soften Gwengwe .

Kachali, the ruling People’s Party (PP) has always argued, was not an automatic running mate.

Insiders said Banda was also luring Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda the veep stakes. The Speaker,  however  maintained his stand to retire from front-line politics.

Gwengwe was reported on Wednesday to have resigned as MP to pave way for his appointment to run vice presidential nominee.

Earlier, the President is also to have asked Press Corporation CEO Mathews Chikaonda if he could be her running mate. Others who were approached included Saulosi Chilima former Airtel Malawi CEO who was later appointed by DPP’s president Peter Mutharika as his running mate.

Banda formally informed Kachali on Wednesday that he is not her preferred choice of runningmate and that he is going to pick Gwengwe.  The PP machinery was also trumpeting Gwendwe on social media networks.

This has left Kachali “absolutely furious” .

Kachali  feels being sidelined  as a  co-founder of PP  who has same share of  glory and blunders is “a sign of something absolutely rotten at the heart of PP campaign.”

Khumbo Kachali: Politics is a continuous struggle for power
Khumbo Kachali: Politics is a continuous struggle for power

When asked by Nyasa Times on Wednesday in Mzimba about the runninmate issue, Kachali said he was vying for “a  national position”, vowing to soldier on regardless of what Banda’s choice will be.

“I will campaign to win as MP and politics continue,” he said, pointing out that politics is a continuous struggle for power.

PP deputy spokesman Ken Msonda declined to comment “ gossipy” issues, saying the prerogative of choosing a runningmate remains with Banda, who is expected to present her nomination to the electoral body in Friday.

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

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 – which as well is linked to many PP officials.

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.

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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