United Transformation Movement (UTM) has been cautioned not be carried away by he huge turnout at their rallies during its three recent launches in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu but strategise to win the battle of hearts of masses with the transformative content of the movement.
Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima, now marketed as SKC by his followers, has emerged as a fresh voice worth following since he accepted to the UTM after dumping the rulling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), accusing it of embarssing corruption and nepotism.
In all the three rallies SKC has held, supporters mostly the youth and women came and packed like sardines. And they formed a sea of people.
Journalist and social commentator Idriss Ali Nassah cautione d that UTM should not fall into the trap of counting and celebrating crowds at rallies.
“Gloating about numbers is really the lowest form of self-serving political strategy. It also usually ends up in tears. I have seen eminent UTM supporters, who otherwise should know better, going gaga over Masintha and Mjamba rallies [as well as Mzuzu]. Large crowds will intoxicate the politically naïve, but the sober ones are well aware that our history is replete with candidates who performed poorly at the ballot despite having pulled impressive crowds at rallies,” pointed out Nassah.
He pointed out that UTM has gotten off “an explosive start–better than anyone could have imagined.”
Nassaer, nonetheless, said the true test is in reaching out and engaging “pockets of resistance outside these rallies, and working hard to win them over with the transformative content of the movement.”
The 45-year-old, who appeared too slow to speak of his political future after dumping t DPP has been hailed on his messaging and manner of delivery at these rallies.
“SKC has done exceptionally well: his talking points have hit the right buttons and, more importantly, have largely been well received,” said Nasser, adding “ But the same can’t be said of the others. The District Governors, the Secretary General and others have to be careful not to sound like they did when they were in DPP,UDF, MCP… or wherever it is they came from.You don’t want to give the impression that the trees have changed, but the monkeys have remained the same.”
Chancellor College political scientist Ernest Thindwa has said key challenge for UTM is to sell the movement to the rural masses “because that is where most votes are and people rarely change their electoral preferences.”
Thindwa said “elections are decided by rural voters, not urban voters.”
Social and political commentator Emily Mkamanga said the movement needs to strategise on penetrating into the rural population because if they stick to urban areas, they will soon lose momentum like other parties.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :