Written by Watson Geoffrey
With Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announcing and probable gazette of nominations paper submission which is likely to take place from 6th May, the focus of the coming nominations is in the political alliances announced.
So far we have two political alliance in Malawi. The first alliance announced was the Democratic Progressive Party and United Democratic Front (DPP/UDF) and the second was Malawi Congress Party and UTM (UTMCP). Likelihood it’s either of the alliance that have an outstanding chance of winning the elections. The flip side of this is that minus the alliances, neither political party in the four can pull a 50 + 1 majority votes.
To begin with, an electoral alliances of this nature will only make sense if the alliance partners will feature on the ballot paper. For instance it would be a fallacy for DPP to feature a Presidential candidate and a running mate from within and hoping to continue to be in an alliance with UDF. The same with MCP to feature the Presidential candidate and also the runningmate from within and hoping they will continue to be in an alliance with UTM.
The only way the alliances would continue to tick and work for the benefit of the alliances, is that one party produces the Presidential candidate and the other a running mate. Its easier in this case to predict for the DPP/UDF Alliance who will likely feature and a bit tricky for UTMCP though it’s a bit obvious.
DPP/UDF Alliance: This is by far the easiest political alliance to guess the presidential team. DPP is likely to feature the torch bearer in the names of President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika aka APM while the UDF is likely to produce the running mate through Rt Hon. Atupele Austin Muluzi (AAM).
To me, this is the easiest decision of APM presidency as it’s now about his legacy and a winning and inspiring choice. This is the only way the alliance would hold between DPP and UDF and in fact the only way that would ensure that APM emerges victorious after 2nd July 2020. So on my personal opinion I humbly call upon APM not to be distracted and have an illusion that minus UDF they can still pull some victory. AAM as a running mate has a likelihood of bringing additional votes, respect, youth, corrupt free and integrity.
At times the truth has to be told, the past contested election the choice of running mate was a disaster it was demotivating and uninspiring to date certain individuals are blamed for such a decision. It should now be avoided at all costs this time around. This time around APM is facing a formidable team of Chakwera and Chilima in this fresh election and a lot of hostilities in certain parts of Malawi.
In this election, the north and central regions are the battle grounds and APM needs a running mate with national appeal who can be accepted in this areas without a problem. APM needs someone who can inspire the youth vote and good public speaker. A person who won’t spend time and energy defending but selling. Someone with charisma and can be able to face the good orators in Chakwera and Chilima. Both these candidates are younger mobile than APM and have the entire access to the country when APM movement has been limited.
The other thing is if AAM and UDF are not offered the running mate position, then we might as well forget about the DPP and UDF alliance. The heightened levels of propaganda on social media against the alliance from the opposing camps attest very well to the fact that this alliance if it stands, is a big threat. Honestly UDF walking out on DPP will come with a huge protest vote that I can speak without fear of contradiction.
Probability of DPP/UDF Alliance winning Elections: 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest) Probability of DPP winning elections solo: 3 .
MCP-UTM alliance: This is the hardiest though obvious to predict as to who will lead the alliance. Hard because there are egos on both side of the alliances and overzealousness of supporters who believe that their President is the best and must lead. Obvious because going by the who is larger and who is better placed, then MCP must lead the alliance.
It should be noted that while on paper all seems to be rosy and the alliance holding, the country might be in for a shock if egos doesn’t get the better of each alliance partner. For starters, this alliance has been formed as a doctrine of necessity and seems to be put in place because the supporters of both parties wanted it after the unity of purpose during the elections case.
However, it still seems that the two political parties are only united in their pursuit of taking DPP out of power and minus that everything else is incompatible. It is essential that the two parties and their supporters must learn to quickly work together and do things as one unit for them to pull the victory that they need.
In UTM-MCP, we have an alliance in which each party is holding on to their cards. Openly the supporters of both parties continue to harbor ambitions that their President must lead the alliance and definitely this is a recipe for disaster if it can not be tamed and sorted out quickly. Further, reports that each of the alliance partners has secretly collected nominations forms for the Presidency is not only disturbing but signs and symptoms of the things to unfold in the next fourteen days.
The UTM-MCP must end the mistrust among the rank and file of the parties. There are pointers that are undermining the alliance from taking shape. One, the continue debate as who will lead is a pointer of troubled waters in paradise. Two, news that UTM President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima aka SKC has been canvassing the idea of being the one to lead the alliance and replace MCP President Dr. Lazurus Chakwera aka Dr. Laz is disturbing.
For those not in the know, there are two incidents that have been recorded of which SKC is purported to have tried to undermine Dr. Laz. It is reported that the first had a meeting with moderator of Nkhoma Synod of CCAP of which he was lobbying the synod to support him to lead the Alliance and Dr. Laz must be made the running mate. The second incident was the lobbying structure with MCP leadership to help rid of Dr. Laz and he leads the Alliance. These machinations almost broke the Alliance and its only holding as a necessity.
The UTM-MCP alliance must quickly patch up the holes in the alliance and make decisions to prepare their supporters in advance of the things to come. This idea of hoping to ambush their supporters with the decision who will lead the alliance during nominations might prove to be disastrous in long run. MCP has a following which would want nothing less than a black cock in the lead and for argument sake, if they are ambushed to choose another, they are likely not to vote. The same applies to UTM who has people sworn not to vote anyone else but their leader and needs to be managed as well.
UTM-MCP must unveil the torchbearer and the running mate in time to prepare their supporters the shock, and time to recover and focus on the elections. This would include bitterly one side of the supporters accepting to play second fiddle to the other. This needs time and for some of us who understand psychology and the stages of loss and grief would know that takes time. Ambushing them during the nominations might work or not and lest pray for the sake of the alliance the first would be the situation.
In terms of probability of winning the elections, the following has to be taken into consideration; Dr. Laz as a leader and SKC as a running mate: 7, SKC as a leader and Dr. Laz as a running make: 5, SKC and Dr. Laz going it alone: 2.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author