Tembo cautious on 'sell-outs' in opposition coalition

Leader of Opposition and president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has justified why his party has not joined the grand coalition that will field one presidential candidate because they are cautious of “sell-outs”.

At least 15 opposition parties – mostly file or briefcase parties – are in agreement to form a coalition and field one presidential candidate against Malawi’s ruling DPP in 2014 elections.

The parties in the coalition are People’s Party (PP) of Vice-President Joyce Banda,  Friday Jumbe’s faction of UDF, People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Congress for Democrats (Code), Republican Party (RP), New Republican Party (NRP), Malawi Democratic Party (MDP), People’s Transformation (Petra), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), Congress for National Unity (Conu) and United Front for Multiparty Democracy (UFMD).

Tembo has explained why they have not joined the coalition, saying they are cautious on opportunists.

Tembo: Beware of sell-outs

“Every political party which is in opposition to the DPP government is a member of the opposition group,” said Tembo.

“But there will be some who will come in to go and sell it to make money as has happened before, such coalitions are not good,” he told Daybreak Malawi programme on Capital FM.

The veteran politician added: “When there is a meeting to discuss our position on our political side, we attend those meetings. When it comes to people to form official opposition coalition, we are not party to it.”

Tembo stressed that during elections “each political party will fight its own.”

UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala who is backing Atupele Muluzi to run for the party’s presidency said the main stream party is yet to consult its members on the grassroot on the coalition but said they are now focused on strengthening their party.

But secretary of the opposition coalition, Humphrey Mvula, said the coalition is “a voluntary organisation” but conceded that “it would be sad if MCP chooses to stay away from the group.”

Mvula said “the cardinal point is that members that are in that group would have to seek the views of the [grassroots].”

“Working together will offer a better chance for the common good of all Malawians,” he said.

Dr. Garton Kamchedzera, associate professor of law at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi observed that “political parties will continue to be divided.”

He said the “common aspirations amongst Malawians are that they would like to see a different alternative.”

Kamchedzera said the grand opposition coalition would need to “come up with a clear direction” that may see “MCP may come into the fold.”

But he law expert noted that “there will be no end to the politics of greed which is so dominant in this country.”

The coalition says it will be having a monthly rotating chairman. PPM’s Mark Katsonga was chair for March and now Petra’s Kamuzu Chibambo is in charge for April.

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