Malawi Congress Party (MCP) politburo has settled to dump its vice President Sidik Mia for state vice president Saulosi Chilima in a decision reached on Thursday this week, Nyasa Times understand as Deputy Speaker of parliament Madalitso Kazombo has joined growing voices in MCP calling on party president Lazarus Chakwera to speedily seal a political deal with UTM in readiness for fresh presidential election.
The decision that is likely to cause ripples in the party’s southern and northern regions which are all demanding the key position, Chakwera is reported to have presented his decision to partner with Cilima to his inner circle that included Secretary General Einshower Mkaka, acting leader of opposition Robin Lowe and Central Region Chairperson.
“The decision is to seek Chilima as runningmate. This is final. We looked at the figures honourable Sidik Mia brought from the South, there was nothing much. Only one seat, that of his wife was won convincingly. This has undermined his position as compared to the north,” said the senior party official.
Chakweras team has already hit the ground to convince the party faithful with some of his close aides Daudi Suleman and Peter Lackson travelling to the North where their message for Chilima included means to calm down the region which is also looking to have a runningmate.
“They have told us, we can’t have two senior government officials from the North. We already have the Speaker. But our position is let Gotani Hara be runningmate, she will resign as a Speaker. They picked Mia because they thought will bring votes, we got a few. Its now time for MCP to look North, we have Harry Mkandawire, NyaHara Gotani and even Right Hon Khumbo Kachali, any of these can make a strong runningmate and deliver the vote for Chakwera to win,” said an MP from Mzimba.
But speaking at a rally in Kasungu, where he is parliamentarian, deputy speaker Kazombo said partnering with UTM president Chilima during the election was the only sure way to remove the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from its grip on power.
He then told the crowd to raise up hands if they agreed to the MCP/UTM alliance.
“Photographers, take pictures please. See how many people are endorsing the MCP/UTM alliance,” said Kazombo.
On Thursday, newly elected Lilongwe south MP Peter Dimba (MCP) stood up in parliament to tell the MCP leadership to go into a political alliance with the UTM.
This comes at a time when some people say the alliance talks between the two parties are facing resistance from a section of the party which supports party vice president Mia who they are fighting to be running mate to Chakwera.
Political commentator Humphrey Mvula said the two parties should strike a deal.
“ For instance, they can agree that once they get into government, the Constitution should be changed so that Dr Chilima should be prime minister,” he said.
The ruling DPP is going into an alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF).
Among others, UDF president Atupele Muluzi has demanded a second vice presidency position in government, president Peter Mutharika appoints four cabinet ministers from the UDF and Muluzi becomes running mate to Mutharika in the forthcoming presidential election.