By Victoria Milanzi
The year 2018 was marred with different and sometimes amusing incidents of which Maravi Post is revisiting in the political segment.
Earlier in 2018 Malawi witnessed the start of a new party, United Transformation Party (UTM), led by Vice president Saulos Chilima.
From the onset, Chilima publicly condemned deep-rooted high-level corruption in the country by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) figures.
The DPP experienced squabbles within its ranks, which reached another level as three of its Members of Parliament (MPs) left the Party, and publicly declared their support to Chilima and the UTM.
The three are Patricia Kaliati, Mulanje west MP, Blantyre City East MP Noel Masagwi, and Mulanje South MP, Bon Kalindo.
The political musical chairs started when former First Lady Callista Mutharika, who openly endorsed Chilima to be DPP’s 2019 presidential candidate; she said: “President Peter Mutharika is old and needs to retire.”
In due course, many politicians joined the UTM. Noted personalities such as Kinnah Phiri, Micheal Usi, Richard Msowoya, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, and Jessie Kabwira left their parties to throw their support to the new political party in Malawi politics.
News making rounds indicate that the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya, and comedian Micheal Usi, are fighting for the seat of the Vice President for UTM.
As Malawi races to the 2019 elections, a voter registration kit was found in Mozambique. A biometric machine for use in the voter registration exercise, was found on a train coming from Mozambique. MEC was faulted for the missing equipment by a number of election monitoring networks in Malawi.
One of the networks is Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), which faulted MEC for ignoring advice regarding the management and care of the bio-metric voter registration machines.
During the year the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was sued in a corruption saga. Youth and Society, an NGO, sued the DPP over K145 million, which was deposited in the Party’s Standard Bank account by business man Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investment. Karim faced investigation on fraud; finally, the DPP returned the money to Karim.
In 2018, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera named Sidik Mia as his running mate for the 2019 elections.
In 2018, Malawian activists secured an injunction against the construction in Blantyre, of a statue of India’s independence leader, Mahatma Ghandi, saying it was irrelevant and unnecessary.
The statue in the commercial capital Blantyre is being erected as part of a deal for India to construct a US$10 million convention center.
High Court officials in Blantyre confirmed the existence of the court injunction just two days after government suspended the construction of the statue.
Then the High Court in Blantyre ruled in favor of the #GandhiMustFall Movement on the issue Blantyre City Council (BCC) took to the court to vacate the injunction by the movement against the erection of the ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi statue in Blantyre.
In a related incident, University of Ghana students smashed a statue of Ghandi, citing Ghandi’s racist stance and also India’s position regarding statues of foreign national heroes: “India has its own heroes, there’s no room in India for statutes of foreign heroes.”