Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and Tonse Alliance presidential torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera has said he would not be in power for only five years of his first term, saying the alliance will be reviewing the contents of their partnership if he win the fresh election due this June.
Chakwera was speaking on Times Television on Sunday in a programme titled ‘Times Special’.
In the interview programme, host Brian Banda asked MCP leader to clarify on speculations that the deal with his running mate Saulos Chilima, the country’s estranged Vice-President—who is also UTM Party president— means there is rotational leadership arrangement and that he would succeed him after his term expires in 2025 even though he would be allowed by the Constitution to seek fresh mandate.
In a public rally last week at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre, Chilima said he would be the alliance’s next presidential candidate after Chakwera in line with their rotational leadership arrangement, assuing MCP president wins the election.
During the recorded interview, Banda asked Chakwera if he is going to be a “one-term president.”
In his response, Chakwera–a cleric who served as Malawi Assemblies of God president before joining frontline politics in 2013– said: “That’s not true and nobody has said that.”
He said it has not been decided when he would step down, but pointed out that it is not a question of “if” he wins but “when he wins.”
Chakwera said together with Chilima, they have “strengths that we can complement each other in serving Malawians.”
He added: “We form a synergy that will truly serve Malawi.”
However, the MCP presidential hopeful said they will be reviewing the terms of the Tonse Alliance deal.
“Whats is a problem serving one term and what is a problem not serving one term,” said Chakwera.
“We must focus in making sure that Malawians get served,” he added.
Banda also asked Chakwera on speculations that the nine-party Tonse Alliance have already shared posts particularly the Cabinet positions and that it will be a power-sharing government with Chilima.
He denied such assertions.
Put to him that Chilima already disclosed during the public rally that sesides being Vice-President, he will also serve as minister of Finance, Chakwera said the UTM leader was merely expressing his interest and its not a done deal.
“Dr Chilima and I will sit down and work out things when time comes. He has a right to express his interest,” he said.
Pressed on whether they two discussed about Chilima being the country’s purse keeper, Chakwera said “we haven’t.”
But he said Chilima’s skills have been grossly under-utilised by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration led by President Peter Mutharika.
“I am saying we will use him where he is best suited,” said Chakwera, highlighting that Chilima is an asset and that he would enact laws that empowers the office of the Vice President within the first 90 days of his tenure.
He continued: “You must remember that a vice president is part of Cabinet. You cannot say I will be this, forever. So if I express that desire, there is nothing wrong with that.”
Chakwera said if he ascends to power in the fresh presidential elctions, his administration is not going to be a one-man show or two-man show, saying they will do consultations.
“We want to work so closely together to serve because that has been my modus operandi in my ministry life,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said he does not intend to concentrate power within the presidency, rather, he would create and power State systems to ensure that government agencies function in a way that drives the State forward “regardless of whoever is leader at any given time.”
The MCP presidential hopeful said his philosophy of leadership is the one that serves the people.
“I am going to be the President that serves people, listens to peoples’ cries, aspirations and people’s problems and tries his best to solve those by service,” he said.
Chakwera also said he will ensure to unite the country which he observed is currently divided
He also said he is going to be “a president that will not smile at corruption”
And he will “respect the rule of the law.”
Chakwera further said he would strive to create strong institutions that will support the State.
Tonse Alliance comprises nine parties including support from human rights activist-turned-politician Timothy Mtambo who is leading Citizens for Transformation Movement.
Observers say Chilima will turn out to be the power behind the throne, controlling the government from the shadows. The reality will probably lie somewhere in between.
Others suggest that political figures close to Chakwera will be unwilling to share power with Chilima’s team, and so will do whatever they can to prevent the Tonse agreement from being enforced. But although there is an element of truth to both assumptions, they are nonetheless misleading.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :