By Pilirani Kachinziri:
People’s Party (PP) Monday divorced its electoral partner Vice President Saulos Chilima’s UTM after disagreeing on the choice of a running mate.
The move has left the alliance in turmoil as former vice president Cassim Chilumpha’s Assembly for Democracy and Development Party has also pulled out of the alliance.
This comes barely three days after signing the alliance agreement with other two parties, Alliance for Democracy and Tikonze Movement.
PP has, therefore, decided to go it alone with Joyce Banda as its torchbearer in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, days after she told the media that she had done her part and would not vie for any seat in the forthcoming elections.
The former Malawi leader, Banda, is expected to present her presidential nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission today at 2 pm at Comesa Hall in Blantyre, according to a programme which Mec released yesterday.
In a statement which PP released Monday signed by its national publicity secretary, Ackson Kalaile Banda, the party blames UTM for playing what it called hide-and-seek on some agreements.
The statement further states that the parties agreed that Chilima would nominate the running mate in consultation with Banda and that the running mate would come from PP.
“However, the People’s Party notes with regret that UTM has up until today [Monday] been playing hide-and-seek on the matter,” the statement reads.
PP said despite that Banda has vast political experience, which includes being State President, Vice president, Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament, she was willing to forgo the position of a torchbearer of the alliance in the interest of a national agenda that would bring genuine change.
“Having viewed the situation and since it was the party that gave Dr Joyce Banda the mandate to negotiate [for the alliance], the party has decided that the latest development is unacceptable. The party, therefore, feels betrayed and has decided to exit the coalition,” the statement says.
UTM secretary general, Patricia Kaliati, Monday was evasive when contacted on the issue.
“Have we ever called you to a press conference on the issue of alliance? That means it [the alliance] was not there. If anything, we will comment later,” she said.
According to the press statement signed by Chilumpha, his party has withdrawn from both Tikonze Alliance and the one they agreed with UTM.
“This has resulted from failure by UTM to honour some of the terms of the agreement. Suffice to say that we have written Mec chair requesting change of dates as to when the ADD will present its nomination papers,” the statement says.
The electoral alliance was expected to hold a press conference yesterday to announce the running mate but it failed.
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