There is political fever in the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its alliance partner United Democratic Front (UDF) as who incumbent President Peter Mutharika will pick as running mate in the fresh presidential elections set for July 2 2020 as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is set to receive nomination papers from Wednesday.
In the disputed last year’s elections, Mutharika stunned his party when he picked Everton Chimulirenji from Ginnery Corner streets to the nomination process as his running mate.
Chimulirenji went on to serve as Vice-President until court nullified the elections results.
Now DPP is in electoral alliance with UDF.
The alliance has said they will maintain President Mutharika as torchbearer but the candidate has kept his cards to close to his chest on who will pair him.
Could he stick with Minister of Disaster Management and Public Events Chimulirenji as running mate or UDF will provide a running mate.
Others is DPP say Mutharika may pick one of his lieutenants in the ruling party rank and file to avoid UDF’s leader Atupele Muluzi being second in command.
But this could be problematic in terms of selling the alliance.
MEC chairwoman Jane Ansah has confirmed that the electoral body will proceed with the electoral calendar after the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal last Thursday dismissed its application to vary the period of holding the election from the 150 days prescribed by the five-judges panel at the Constitutional Court.
In its application to the Constitutional Court to vary or suspend the February 3 nullification of the presidential election, the electoral commission highlighted challenges in the procurement of electoral materials as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the restrictions on the number of people that can congregate at any given time will impact on the recruitment and training of electoral officers. Training is often conducted in groups of 40 to 50 participants.
Additionally, the distribution of voting materials to polling stations would be affected as the commission struggles to comply with Covid-19 regulations and guidelines.
While Mutharika’s running mate mystery has gripped the country’s imagination, another focus is on the presidential candidate and runningmate for the electoral alliance of MCP, UTM Party and other partners.
It is still not known who will be alliance torchbearer between MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, who is also the country’s estranged vice-president.
Presidential hopefuls are likely to be using two things in settling for their running mates: Can the partner help them win? Can the ticket partners assist them to govern should they win the elections? These and more are questions that cannot be answered easily.
But the two alliances are keeping their choices close to the chest, thereby heightening social media speculation and debate on possible pairings.
The winning presidential candidate and running mate eventually become the country’s President and Vice-President, respectively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :