MCP cool Mia-Chakwera links: Downplays Kutsaira defection

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have moved to cool speculation linking the former transport minister Sidik Mia becoming a running mate of Dr Lazarous Chakwera but said the party was flattered that the Lower Shire political giant is linked with join it.

MCP spokesperson Dr Jessie Kabwila said the party’s president has not picked Mia as running mate.

But she said Mia, a wealthy businessman who has been one of the financiers of the PP, was welcomed to join MCP, saying she was “a key political figure.”

Kabwila insisted that Chakwera has not picked Mia a running mate.

“We have not approached Sidik Mia to be running mate. As of now MCP has not have a running mate identified anybody to be a running mate?

“We are in an electoral mode and there are a lot of things to be said. We welcome him if he wants to be our member just as we welcome anybody else,” said Kabwila.

“If he can become our member to help us develop our country, he is welcome.”

Deal or no deal?:Chakwera will he pair Mia on presidential ticket?
Deal or no deal?:Chakwera will he pair Mia on presidential ticket?

The issue of Mia becoming Chakwera’s running mate has been dominating Malawian social media and internet chat and discussion fora.

One school of thought in MCP has embraced Mia while another school of thought is urging caution considering he has been defecting from UDF to DPP, PP and now his next move likely MCP.

Mia’s biggest asset is said to be his wealth and benevolence but cash-strapped MCP members feel the party” should not sell its sole competitive advantage (integrity), so cheaply. Let Mia come as an ordinary member and work his way to the top.”

MCP member-funded campaign means that funds are trickling in slowly and this has made the prospect of netting a millionaire like Mia drown all pretence to conservatism.

Mia, when announcing his resignation, said after consultation with his family he decided to resign and lead a private life.

Writing on Team Chakwera Facebook group, one of the MCP supporter Benjamin Mkono cautioned the party against rewarding defectors with top positions.

Mkono observed that “MCP has members in the Lower Shire that can be promoted to become the party’s household names. He cited Treasurer General Mr. Tony Kandiero from T/A Tengani, Nsanje: a former broadcaster and diplomat. On the list was also Mr. Ahmed Y Dassu, Deputy Director of Elections who has been with the party for long. And finally the 2ndthe 2nd Veep Mr. MacDonald Lombola from Neno whom he described as “a very principled politician who has remained MCP when it was much easier and convenient for him to jump ship.”

“We should always remember, there is no free lunch. These so called rich people do not and will not come cheap,”
“Dr. Lazarus Chakwera was probably the under-resourced candidate in the run up to the MCP convention. I doubt he dished out chunks of money like some did. He did not have a big name like some of his competitors. But the delegates thought otherwise and voted for him, “said Mkono.

He concluded out by strongly urging MCP not to be obsessed with ‘someone from the south’ and observed that 2014 is a completely different year as many things changed since 2009.

Meanwhile, MCP on Sunday downplayed the defection of Bintony Kutsaila to the ruling Peoples Party (PP).

Kutsaila was welcomed  on Sunday at a rally President Joyce Banda conducted in Lilongwe at Masintha ground and was later appointed deputy minister of agriculture.

MCP deputy Publicity Secretary Ezekiel Ching’oma told Nyasa Times that as a party, it is their hope that Kutsaila is going to settle down.

“As a party we are not surprised because all along Kutsaira is a political nomad. He is someone who can never be trusted and we pray that maybe this time around he has found what he has been looking for and that he is going to settle down,” he said.

Ching’oma said it is not only the MCP which has lost trust in Kutsaila but even from his home area.

“You may wish to know that even people from his constituency no longer trust him hence the dismal performance last week during MCP primary elections,” he said.

During the primary election at Lilongwe Msinja North constituency, Kutsaila was defeated by the current MP for the area Peter Stanley Chalera with 289 votes against 8 votes.

Asked if his departure will affect party, Ching’oma said it cannot as he was a mere passenger.

“Not at all, actually some people were asking when Kutsaira re-joined MCP! They didn’t know where he belonged to as he was almost a shadow of his own,” he said.

Malawi is currently facing a “political defection window period” ahead of the general election in May.

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