Opposition political parties not represented in Parliament have roped in former governing People’s Party (PP) of Joyce Banda and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) to be part of a coalition to be called Tikonze Dziko Lathu and field one presidential candidate joint candidate in next year’s presidential election.
Chairperson of the opposition grouoin. Langton Chasowa, has said they will call for a convention with allocation of equal votes to all the parties in the election of the joint presidential candidate and runningmate.
“Our view is that we must have a grand coalition of democrats. We must have a grand strategy around making a broad alliance possible. So yes we are reaching out and we are extending our hand of engagement to others including the Chilima Movement,” said Chasowa who is interim president of Republican Party (RP).
Political commentators have said The opposition alliance of small parties is not expected to make a serious impact in the forthcoming polls.
University of Malawi political scientist Happy Kayuni has said the alliance could pose the most credible challenge to President Peter Mutharika of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) if it worked with a party that controls significant number of followers and is well organised like Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Joyce Banda’s PP can make a strong showing in her Nkhatabay stronghold and Zomba Malosa but not much elsewhere, while People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) Mark Katsonga has support in Mwanza.
On the other hand, the George Nnesa’s Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (MAFUNDE), United Transformation Party of Newton Kambala, the Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) of former Vice-President Dr Cassim Chilumpha and the Peoples Transformation Party (PETRA) of Kamuzu Chibambo , are all based in urban centres where they are very unlikely to win parliamentary seats.
Chancellor College political science lecturer Mustafa Hussein said there was no problem for former President Joyce Banda and PP to enter into an opposition electoral colation.
“It is one way of strengthening the party. Although these others are called small parties, but they have ideas, policies that may have impact on the political scene. So, together they bring in all their strength and may enjoy the synergy effect,” he said.
Hussein said PP already has a national appeal and they can build on the same by roping in “smaller parties” which may boost their morale and put up a good competition.
Malawi’s leading daily newspaper , The Nation, on Wednesday through is editorial comment welcomed the coalition , saying the arrangement to field one presidential candidate reducing the risk of confusing the electorate.
“Malawians are waiting for a concrete take-home message, a message of hope. They need clarity,” the paper said.
It noted that most aspiring presidential candidates are falling short in spelling out why Malawians should entrust them with thier vote .
“Several other aspirants, including some outside the proposed coalition, have been there before and failed to impress. Our free advice is that they should package solid messages and avoid making the same mistakes. Once bitten, twice shy,” reads the editorial in conclusion.
According to Banda, Malawi is now a “fragile nation” under President Muthariks because upon her return from from four-year exile she has found that the hardships she left in 2014 have now multiplied 10 times.
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