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UTM convention to be held Nov 9:  Caucus elects regional, district leaders

Malawi Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s United Transformation Movement (UTM) is set to conduct its first national convention in November after a team building exercise for its national, regional and district officials meeting in Lilongwe on Tuesday agreed.

Chilima and the UTM troops pose for a photo after a caucus

UTM meeting of leaders at Ufulu Gardens

The party spokesman Joseph Chidanti Malunga said the meeting was held at Ufulu Gardens as the movement continues to prepare for the 2019 tripartite elections.

“The main purpose for the team building exercise was to ensure that UTM leaders at all levels are empowered with information and authority to carry out tasks aimed at advancing the movement’s objectives,” reads a communiqué issued  by secretary general Patricia Kaliati after the meeting.

“Among other things, delegates to the meeting took time review UTM activities since its launch on 21 July 2019, agreed on the way forward for the party, apart from sharing successes and challenges being experienced in their respective areas,” the communiqué  made available to Nyasa Times further reads.

Delegates have elected regional, and district level champions to spearhead preparations for the movement’s convention to be held on a date to be held on November 9 2018.

Malunga said the movement will be deciding on the exact venue and other logistics for the convention soon.

He said the movement expects that all positions, including that of president, will be up for grabs at the convention.

“UTM is now ready to start ground work strengthening structures and recruiting new members to ensure that we enter the government come 2019,” said Malunga.

Meanwhile, analysts argued that the coming in of UTM, has weakened both the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP)—widely seen as frontrunners for 2019 presidential race —as most of those joining the movement are defecting from the two parties.

University of Livingstonia political scientist George Phiri however, said it was hard to predict UTM’s prospects of winning the polls, arguing that the movement has not yet established enough structures that could be used to measure its poll strength.

Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) chairperson and Catholic University political scientist Nandini Patel projected more alliances before and after the 2019 elections.

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