Leaders of Malawi’s divided opposition have swallowed their price and conceded they cannot make any claim on winning the presidential elections unless they act together to choose a joint candidate in the watershed May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
There are nine parties involved in the talks which will be concluded this weekend as they want to trim down the number of presidential candidates from the current 20 aspiring for the presidential vote, which will be combined with a parliamentary election and elections to the council assemblies.
Those taking part are recent-past governing People’s Party (PP), newly registered UTM Party, Alliance for Democracy (Aford) and six others under the banner of Tikonze People’s Movement.
Sources privy to the discussions disclosed that immediate past president and PP leader Joyce Banda is hosting the meetings at her residence in Lilongwe.
Besides Banda, other high-level attendees have included UTM president and the country’s incumbent Vice-President Saulos Chilima and his party secretary general (GS) Patricia Kaliati, PP GS Ibrahim Matola, Aford president Enoch Chihana, People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) president Mark Katsonga and Tikonze torchbearer and the country’s former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha.
The opposition will have to seal their coalition deal by weekend as presidential aspirants will be required to present their nomination papers replete with running mates to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) next week.
During his news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday. pledged to comeback with election-related announcements “within few days”.
Chilima indicated that his party was in talks with other opposition parties to enhance chances of winning the elections.
He said: “It is important to join forces and form a formidable force in order to ensure that victory is on our side. You can be assured that we have engaged other parties on this matter. But we will confirm whether we have partners in a matter of days.”