Usi, Mia clash in live running mates debate: UTM, MCP growing rivalry on spotlight

If there is one thing that came out clearly from Thursday’s live television debate for presidential running mates, is the manifestation of the growing UTM party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) rivalry.

Mia: Queried over statement of health centre every four-kilometre radius
Usi took every opportunity to punch holes in Mia’s statements

While United Democratic Front (UDF) running mate Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo was still outstanding, the greater part of the debate was reduced to MCP’s Sidik Mia and UTM’s Michael Usi’s battlefield where each of the two used the platform to expose the other party’s weakness and repeatedly disagreed of facts.

Whenever the two took the platform there was less focus on governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gaffes but rather on each other.

Mia questioned the morality of UTM leader Dr Saulos Chilima maintaining being the Vice President of the country when he is at loggerhead with the current President and also not working.

Usi took every opportunity to punch holes in Mia’s statements to the extent of bemoaning his lack of knowledge on the federal system.

It was in response to the health sector question that Mia and Usi took each other head-on Mia stated that MCP would ensure that there is a health centre every four-kilometre radius, which Usi said was not practical.

This of course made the debate which was live on Zodiak television from Comesa Hall in Blantyre and watched by millions of viewers more lively and exciting.

“What is coming out clear from these debates is that we should expect more political rivalry between MCP and UTM as they approach the elections,” observed governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali in an interview with Nyasa Times.

“Unlike in the previous elections where the opposition had a soft spot on each other and instead concentrated on attacking the incumbent, the 2019 Tripartite elections provides an interesting scenario where the battle lines between MCP and UTM are already drawn, and as to whether this would benefit the ruling DPP or not in the next election is something that can be debated,” he added.

Professor Wiseman Chiere Chirwa of the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College described the debate held in Blantyre as  “real debate” not a question and answer affair as was the case in the first session in Lilongwe.

The presidential running mates debate is an initiative of privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).

Everton Chimulirenji of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who chickened out from the first debate again did not take part again in the second leg as his party said they will not participate in any debate relating to the May 21 2019 watershed election.

Dr Jerry Jana of People’s Party (PP) who attended the first leg of debate, pulled out from Thursday’s event following his presidential candidate Joyce Banda’s withdraw from the race.

The trio that took part in the debate ably moderated by Joab Frank Chakhaza tackled various topics ranging from health, gender and women empowerment, the economy, governance and access to justice and human rights, among others.

Malawians have another chance to see running mates battle in another debate on March 21 in Mzuzu where the style and substance, both which are important performance indicators in this political theatre, will be up for check.

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Nyasa Dé Malawi
Guest

UTM chipani chama social network… mavoti ali ku mudzi mafana.. This race is btwn DPP and MCP.. believe it or not

Kanyimbi
Guest
Kanyimbi

Ndipo pa debate a Mia anati 4km iliyonse & not 4km radius ngakhale atapanga playback speech yao ija.

Nansongole
Guest
Nansongole

I was not impressed with debaters’ performance. They were all ignorant on most of the issues. Frank called Strategic Plan a research document hold my foot!!! On financing healthcare all showed that they knew not how small our internal resources for healthcare are. Payment meant for those who are able and willing. Even with efficiency improvement we cant afford sustainable healthcare without extra means of resource generation. About 25% of the population can afford. Kwa sing’anga matha bwanji? I was bored with debate so i did not watch it to the end. One important question I wish could have been… Read more »

National CEO
Guest
National CEO

Thumbs up to Dr Usi, He is the only new politician on the podium but he showed what he can do. Even Mia knows this.

Mirella K
Guest
Mirella K

What’s the difference?

Heavyduty
Guest
Heavyduty

This is the debate we know, a debate is about arguments, crashing or defending ideas basing on facts, evidence and figures. Not the one that happened in Lilongwe which was basically a podium for campaigning (just “we will do this or that”) is that a debate? That was not debate, it was rubbish.

UTM DIEHARD
Guest
UTM DIEHARD

whether debate or not UTM is in my blood you have my vote all the way…. time is up to make new choices kukuchelani mukapanga za UTM,,oonani mfundo zopititsa patsogolo dziko,osati kumangolozana zala.

ADZONZI
Guest
ADZONZI

Mia made a big GOOF I have never seen before…. He should know that times for Atcheya foolish politics is way gone. How can we construct 4KM hospital/clinics in every part of the country. Is he sane enough to know that a hospital requires staff, medicine equipement and what what to operate? Kapena amatanthauza mizikiti mwina

Gertrude
Guest

You need to go back to school.

BigMan
Guest
BigMan

Whether radius or access point etc… The proposal is a non starter and tatal gibberish that Mia miserably failed to defend.

MBONI YA BOMA
Guest

this is just a matter of filling gaps. I trust that you are well aware that we have a lot of healthy facilities across the country both in use and not in use. kindly be informed that 4KM Radius is not distance between 2 health facilities but middle way meaning that if you want to go to any health facility to your right side direction, it should be 4KM away and the same applies to your opposite direction but actual distance between 2 health facilities is 8KM. ADZOZI INU MUNGAKONDE ZIPATALA ZITALIKIRANE NDI MTUNDA WANJI OPOSELA 8KM?

Mirella K
Guest
Mirella K

Mboni ya boma (nanu boma lake liti mukupangira umbonilo?) 4km radius hospital issue is a total non-starter, even if you say its 8km or so. Please face the reality and be practical

Wiseman
Guest
Wiseman

4km is not practical anyway regardless politics.

Man of Principles
Guest
Man of Principles

Dr. Michael Usi is very very genius. whenever he was answering he was composed and no sign of lying thus my UTM which is so unique and cant wait to see them forming the next government on 21 May 2019…..Mia has been in government since 1994 but he cant understand even a single question from the moderator of the debate…he is just another recycled politician no votes from the youth who have registered in majority and are ready for change…shame and pathetic.

BigMan
Guest
BigMan

It was an interesting debate indeed, MCP knows just like the DPP knows that the most popular movement on the political scene is the new team on the block called UTM. Whether it is the personal brand or charisma of their President or whether it is their message, or even if it is just their branding, there is no doubt that UTM has flexed its muscle and everyone has noticed. So no wonder MCP was attacking UTM from day one, whether that wins them votes or makes them look bad, only time will tell.