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Torchbearer issue should not kill UTM/MCP alliance

Chilima and Chakwera sealing the deal for one path

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has released a tentative schedule for presentation of nomination papers for the fresh presidential elections as ordered by the court in February this year.

The schedule has already caused social media buzz with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters laughing at the prospect of UTM President, Dr Saulos Chilima, being a running mate to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Dr Lazarus Chakwera. The two parties are in an electoral alliance in addition to other parties.

While the presidential candidate and running mate for the UTMCP alliance have not yet been unveiled, it is obvious that only one of the two will be a torchbearer.

It is either Chilima or Chakwera. One will be a running mate. What is surprising is that DPP supporters are busy trivializing the running mate position, saying the one who gets this position is ‘finished’ and his party is also finished’. Of course, the DPP cadets’ focus is on UTM and Chilima.

Firstly, this is extremely amusing because DPP is also in what they are calling an alliance (also called a Chinkhoswe between the Mutharika and Muluzi dynasties). By saying that whoever accepts the running mate position is ‘finished’, DPP is basically saying if UDF accepts the running mate position, it is finished! What more if Atupele Muluzi is not selected as running mate to Mutharika (a very high probability)? Completely finished? That is probably the reason why DPP coerced UDF into an alliance, to finish it off completely! Typical DPP politics, ndiolotse ndikakutafune.

What DPP is forgetting is that they tried to play this dishonest politics on Chilima, and it ended badly. In fact, it ended into a disaster! When DPP roped in Chilima to be Mutharika’s running mate in 2014, he was a rookie in politics, but a young man full of wisdom and leadership experience. True to DPP politics, soon after the elections, it dumped him and tried everything in the book of dishonest and dirty politics to kill Chilima’s political relevance.

However, shrewd Chilima showed DPP what he is made of. What followed was a political tsunami never seen before in Malawi politics. With many other people tired of DPP’s Stone Age politics, Chilima formed UTM which in less than a year of its formation spread into each and every corner of the country. Even after widespread and deliberate election engineering aimed at making DPP win elections, Chilima got over a million votes! This is a guy who was a running mate in 2014 and only formed a party less than one year before the 2019 elections!

If accepting a running mate position meant the end of one’s political career, Chilima would be history by now because that is what he did in 2014. But we know Chilima and UTM are a popular political brand that is going to be a household name in Malawi politics for a long time. The party has a concentration of young and progressive minds that makes UTM the pacesetter in Malawi politics.

For the sake of the country, UTM and its leadership went into an alliance ready to take any position in the fresh presidential elections. Among other factors, this is what made the grand alliance possible. If UTM and MCP played the old DPP selfish politics, the alliance would not have been possible.

DPP’s trivializing of the running position is aimed at making UTM supporters feel inferior if Chilima accepts to be Chakwera’s running mate. It is aimed at weakening the alliance so that DPP wins and continue stealing taxpayers’ money. But in formulating this strategy, if at all it can be called a strategy, DPP forgot that it has in an alliance with UDF which is desperately eyeing the running mate position. What a bunch of thoughtless strategists they have in DPP!

With rumors of Atupele Muluzi not even being considered for a running position for the DPP/UDF Chinkhoswe, the message DPP is inadvertently sending to UDF is that; we will use and dump you like a condom! Therefore, it is insane for any UDF supporter to join DPP supporters in saying UTM will be finished if patriotic Chilima accepts the running mate position.

It is even unwise for any UTM supporter to forget the reason why the party went into an alliance with MCP in the first place; to rescue Malawi from DPP, a party that has moved Malawi from sixth to third poorest country in the world. A party that has stolen billions of Kwachas from treasury, a party that has turned Malawi Police into its militia, a party that promotes violence and tribalism. With the 50% plus one of the votes deciding who wins the elections, the UTM/MCP alliance is the best chance remove the DPP tribal cabal and deliver the promises laid in the manifestos of the two parties.

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