Political analysts say Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera’s declaration of his party’s first vice-president Mohammad Sidik Mia as his running mate in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections presidential race.has slammed the door for an electoral alliance talks .
Chakwera has become the first aspiring presidential candidate to declare Mia would be his vice-presidential running mate in the watershed election.
Ernest Thindwa, a political scientist at Chancellor College, a constituent of the University of Malawi, said Chakwera should have waited for electoral alliance deals with other political parties before making the announcement.
“This is a highly competitive election. Chakwera should have hammered some electoral alliance deals if the party is to get into power. The only party, which can bring significant votes, is the UTM but the announcement of the running mate has shut down all the doors for such talks,” he said.
During the announcement on Sunday in Mangochi, Chakwera said he would not go for alliances at the expense of the unity of his own MCP.
“Those who want to come to us to talk [on possible electoral alliances], can come, the door is open but I cannot do this at the expense of my party unity,” said Chakwera.
UTM leader Saulos Chilima had previously doubted his party would go for any alliance with MCP, saying there were no such talks.
He said his party was strong to amass enough votes to oust the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from power at the ballot box and form the next government.
“We don’t need the help of any party for us to win the election but any party wishing to talk to us for a possible electoral alliance, our doors are open, we will listen and make a decision as a party,” said Chilima.
MCP publicity secretary Maurice Munthali said the announcement has settled dust after months of rumours and divisive speculations.
“We are happy that our president has named Alhaji Mohammed Sidik Mia as the running mate. This is a strong ticket. MCP has the capacity and capability to go it alone,” said Munthali.
Chakwera’s declaration at a rally in Monkey Bay, Mangochi is an unprecedented development in a country where presidential candidates keep their choices of running mates close to their chest until the day of presenting nomination papers usually around February.