Malawi’s flamboyant vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima, who is also the founding president of UTM, one of the key partners in the Tonse Alliance government has come out of his cocoon after a long silence and publicly pleaded for unity due to incessant intra-parties fielding.
A passionate Chilima, popularly known as SKC, had to publicly come down on his knees symbolising the depth of the problems in Karonga immediately after inspecting some development projects and called for a unity of purpose among all the partners of the Tonse Alliance.
Speaking to a crowd gathered at Karogga Boma, Chilima knelt down, symbolically pleading with UTM Party supporters and those of other parties in the alliance to put aside their differences and let government deliver what it promised.
A visibly concerned Chilima, addressing a crowd on his bended knees and holding a microphone in his right-hand the charismatic political sales-marketer, pleaded: “I kneel before you and the reason why I am kneeling down here is to ask everyone that we should remain united. We are all one and please let us not forget where we are coming from.
“We were together [as Tonse Alliance] during the June 23, 2020 campaign and we are together now. No one should be pompous and get big-headed. Malawi is for all of us and we are one people.
Chilima, therefore, pleaded with all Malawians to remain united and stay focused on developing the country saying this is not the time for squabbles or political campaigns.
Said Chilima: “This is the time to deliver our promises to the people, including providing loans and jobs and reducing the prices of passports. I want to ask that the alliance should move on united.”
“When all of us prayed to God for change, God answered all of us, and all of you. He did not answer one person, God answered everyone’s prayers so no-one should be behaving as if God answered their prayers only.”
What Chillma said in Karonga earlier this week is in complete synchronisation with the remarks president Chakwera made last month, during celebrations for the success of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) at State House President Chakwera also said:
“Let me emphasise that the June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Election victory is for everyone and not the work of one person.
“This was not the work of one person. No one is bigger or better than the rest. It was a united effort. That is why if we remain united, we will achieve great things.”
Chilima leads UTM Party, an important partner of the Tonse Alliance along with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) led by President Lazarus Chakwera.
The two parties, alongside seven other political parties, teamed up to oust the former governing Democratic Progressive Party in the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential
Chilima publicly condemned UTM Party followers when they were involved in political violence in Karonga during the March 30 by-elections campaign when they allegedly stoned a vehicle belonging to MCP officials.
UTM Party mouthpiece, Tumpale Frank Mwenifumbo in an interview played down the squabbles saying that; “everything is well and good.”
However, Mwenifumbo said as a matter of concern, the party was worried with the continued political bickering on social media adding that all parties in the Tonse Tonse Alliance are supposed to speak but one voice as they share a common goal, to see Malawi develop.
Said Mwenefumbo: “There is so much intentional bickering and political mudslinging on social media. Some people out there just want to a rift between parties or their leaders.
“I have twice reached out to the MCP camp on the need for us to meet so that we can find a lasting solution and show solidarity to each other and in tte process garner support for our leaders.
However, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka who is also Foreign Affairs and International Affairs minister told The Nation on Wednesday that; “all was well in the party.”
“The statement from the Vice-President has context, and I think it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on that. As far as I know, all is well,” Mkaka told the local paper.
But in an earlier interview with Times Television, Mkaka said “there is no entity called Tonse Alliance”.
Mkaka told the TV: “We went to the polls on MCP ticket, leading the Tonse Alliance, but within the alliance, parties have maintained their independence in terms of operations and existence.
“So, I wanted to make it clear that it should not be surprising to see that we have featured different candidates during elections because there is no entity called Tonse Alliance.”
“This was an administrative arrangement which we thought was ideal at that particular time for Malawi to move forward. But, of course, we have to be careful so that this should not derail development, because instead of fulfilling the promise, we may waste time building parties.”
As reported by the Nation, political and governance experts have said the continuing rift within Tonse Alliance shows a lack of intra-alliance democracy and misplaced priorities, warning if MCP and UTM Party leaders do not review their agreement, the alliance may be short-lived.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political and administrative studies professor Happy Kayuni said in an interview the party supporters have not been guided on how to handle each other during campaigns.
He said: “What has complicated this alliance is that the leadership did not take time to explain their rank and file on how they should relate with each other. Already, when MCP thinks it is on the driving seat, it forgets the 50 percent +1 rule, it is very rare to get that in Malawi.
“If you are so pompous and you think you can be alone, it may be a wrong calculation. What MCP needs is to assume the role of a senior partner who unites the rest, and respect will not be earned by numbers but by how it behaves towards others.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :