It’s MCP/UTM vs DPP/UDF
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have lived up to expectations of their followers after finally officially announcing the formation of an electoral alliance ahead of the May 19 2020 fresh presidential election following Constitutional Court’s judgement on February 3 2020.
The two parties have sealed the alliance, effectively making it the rival of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) union which was officially announced late last month.
In the February 3 judgement, the court clarified that the majority required for one to win the presidency means that a candidate must attain 50 percent-plus-one of the total valid votes counted, as opposed to a simple majority which Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has been using to determine the winner.
The court then went ahead to order Parliament to come up with relevant legislation to operationalize the 50 percent-plus-one arrangement.
The august House passed electoral reforms bill which await President Peter Mutharika’s assent alongside Public Appointment Committee (Pac) call to fire the Jane Ansah-led panel of Mec commissioners after deeming them, during assessments, incompetent to manage the fresh election scheduled for May 19 2020.
In the May 21 presidential election, whose results the court nullified, Mutharika was deemed to have garnered 38 percent of the votes cast followed by MCP president Lazarus Chakwera (35 percent) and UTM’s Saulos Chilima (20 percent). UDF leader Atupele Muluzi earned five percent.
The alliance by MCP and UTM comes when pressure from the two parties’ followers had been mounting for them to go to the polls as one entity.
In a statement issued Wednesday, co-signed by UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati and publicity secretary, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, the party says the two parties will unveil the deal on March 19 2020 at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
UTM says it has entered into the alliance after “appreciating the undoubted importance of unity among all Malawians, irrespective of political persuasions, to the attainment of this country’s development goals.”
However, the statement has not disclosed who will lead the alliance. Likewise, DPP and UDF have not announced their torchbearer but Mutharika has twice during public rallies said he was ready to stand for the presidency.
“The party’s president and State Vice-President, Rt. Hon. Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima has been mandated to conclude the final details of the alliance agreement on behalf of the party,” UTM’s statement reads.
MCP publicity secretary, Reverend Maurice Munthali, said they were happy with the alliance. “We are welcoming the response from our colleagues because we issued a statement that MCP is for the alliance and we gave powers to our president and there was a committee to that effect.
“Now that UTM has issued this statement, we thank God; we can confirm this alliance is real. This is what Malawians were expecting and this will put Malawians on the right rail,” he said.
Chakwera competed in the May 21 polls as MCP torchbearer with Sidik Mia as his runningmate whereas Chilima had Michael Usi as the running-mate.
Meanwhile, MCP has called off demonstrations that were scheduled for today to avoid being in contempt with the ongoing case at the Supreme Court of Appeal. Chakwera had earlier announced the demonstrations in protest against what he called the government’s failure to respect rights of people.