Governance expert and political commentator Makhumbo Munthali has said it is too early to judge whether vice president Saulos Chilima may dislodge main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the race to unseat Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) in next year’s elections.
Munthali said Chilima’s crowd-pulling launch of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) at Masintha ground in Lilongwe ahs provides some positives.
In newspaper interview, Munthali noted that Chilima had a good show as compared to his previous public speeches where he spoke in parables and left his audience in suspense on his political future.
“He spoke without fear and favour, with a deep conviction. His ability to touch on some so-called politically sensitive issues—like the quota system of selecting students to public universities which both the governing Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] and Malawi Congress Party [MCP] have avoided—showed a great sense of decisiveness,” said Munthali.
Munthali comments are reported in an interview published by Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation on Wednesday.
He said: “The 30-day amnesty given to those who are stealing taxpayers’ money showed traits of transformational leadership where a leader is not afraid of burning his fingers or reducing the chances of winning in an election, but sticks to ideologies as long as they are transformative enough.
“In summary, the message he preached on Saturday is largely what Malawians wanted to hear after being greeted with a series of proverbs which did not say much about his agenda for the country.”
Asked to comment on whether the inclusion of the former first lady Callista Mutharika, former minister Patricia Kaliati and other former DPP heavyweights add any glory to the cause Chilima and UTM are championing, the governance expert said politically, the inclusion of these former DPP top gurus is “a plus for UTM in challenging the DPP.”
Said Munthali: “Certainly, these will be key in the campaign period as well as their strengthen in mobilising the masses.”
However, he pointed out that time will tell as to what extent they can do this.
“Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that in terms of aligning with the transformative agenda that Chilima may be preaching, these gurus may not add much value as they remain stuck to the old ways of politicking.
“Listening to the speeches of Kaliati and Callista on Saturday, you could clearly see that these have nothing tangible to offer to the transformational movement apart from politically venting their anger on their now political foes—DPP. It will be interesting—if Chilima wins in 2019 elections, how he will be able to act on any corrupt or criminal allegations if these former DPP gurus were involved during their time with DPP,” said Munthali.
UTM is scheduled to launch in the Southern Region at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre on Sunday and the movement is also expected to hold a regional launch in the Northern region on August 4 in Mzuzu.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :