There is great possibility of electoral partnerships in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections but analysts have doubted the possibility of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and and the newly registered party, UTM led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, working together.
The analysts were commenting on reports confirmed by MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali of meetings between MCP president Lazarus Chakwera—who is also leader of opposition in Parliament—and leaders of PP and UTM, respectively.
Governance expert and commentators Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that a recent survey conducted by the Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor) between August and September this year which showed that DPP would have a slender edge over MCP if elections were held now while UTM—which was weeks old at the time of the survey—was rated third most popular ahead of next year’s elections wwill certainly ignite the debate within the inner circles of MCP, DPP and UTM on the possibility of entering into political alliances.
“ It is clear that none of the three based on the survey findings would be certain of a clear victory in the next election. In order to maximise their chances of winning the elections we are likely to see the idea of political alliances being given serious attention than ever before amongst the three political parties.
“ Already there have been indications of the DPP and UDF getting into an alliance, and now that it is seemingly very clear that UDF cannot come any closer to winning an election it is very likely to ‘donate’ its 6% to DPP. However, it is the PP which seems not decided whom it would enter into an alliance with but it is likely that this would be with either MCP or UTM,” said Munthali.
He pointed that the UTM and MCP alliance – is likely an impossibility – because MCP seems to have already concluded that Chakwera and Sidik Mia will be the president and runningmate.
“ I don’t see Mia accepting to be dropped out as a runningmate in order to put Saulos Chilima of UTM as runningmate for the possible MCP-UTM alliance. Even in a situation where Chilima becomes the presidential candidate and Chakwera accepts to be the runningmate I don’t see Mia accepting to be dropped.
“ Worse still, even if Mia were to agree to be dropped as runningmate, the very question of who becomes the presidential candidate and runningmate between Chakwera and Chilima may not be an easy one as each one of them – and their respective supporters- would want to be the Presidential candidate,” Munthali observed.
A political scientist Ernest Thindwa, who is based at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, also doubted the possibility of MCP and UTM working together.
“I can say that the potential of winning the election is big if MCP, PP and UTM work together in an alliance because their partnership can stop vote fragmentation if they decide to field one presidential candidate.
“However, this cannot be achieved easily on the part of MCP and UTM who, in my view, may have ego problems to surrender the presidential berth to each other. Those battles might even go all the way to ministerial positions. That would work to the advantage of the Democratic Progressive Party whose fortunes lie in the failure of a formidable opposition electoral alliance,” Thindwa said in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper.
However, political analyst Humphrey Mvula, said the three parties “have a chance of their lives to take over government if they work together” and could strike a partnership based on people’s expectations and common agenda.
He said: “The biggest advantage is that all of them seem to be driving a common agenda of trying to recover the economy, end corruption, job creation, improvement of farming and electricity, among others.
“The difference with the past elections is that currently the political discourse is that of change which all these parties are propagating. But I can say that what only stands in the way of this convergence of opinion is greed.”
UTM has also been in contact with Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), People’s Transformation Party (Petra), Aford, Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) Republican Party (RP) and the New Labour Party (NLP).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :