Lazarus Chakwera allays one-term ‘fears’
Says no decision made on when he would bow out
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also Tonse Alliance presidential candidate, has allayed fears that he will be a one-term president, saying what his running mate, Saulos Chilima, said does not imply Chakwera will serve one term only if he wins at the forthcoming election.
Chilima has been saying that he will be the next torchbearer of Tonse Alliance after Chakwera, raising questions on whether that means Chakwera will only serve one term and pass on the mantle to Chilima.
In a special programme aired on TTV Sunday, Chakwera said a decision has not been made on when he might bow out if Tonse Alliance emerges victorious.
“He [Chilima] is very right to say that after me it will be him, but does that mean it is after one term or two terms? No. That is something which has not been decided yet. Besides, if I run for one term or two terms, so what?
“What has been decided at this moment is the fact that Dr Chilima and I have strength which when put together, can transform lives of Malawians,” he said.
The Tonse Alliance torchbearer further said if he wins, he will be consulting Chilima and several other people when it comes to appointment of Cabinet ministers and senior government positions so that they deliver on their campaign promises of creating one million jobs within a year, improving agriculture, education and health systems as well as strict adherence to the rule of law.
Chilima has also said it publicly that he would be Minister of Finance if Tonse Alliance wins the election.
“What is wrong with expressing what he wants? What is wrong with that? I have said it several times that the [Democratic Progressive Party]-led administration has for a long time failed to utilise Dr Chilima as State Vice-President. When we are voted in power, we will place him where he is best suited.
“People who know me will tell you that I consult a lot. I will continue to consult so that together, we come up with a team that can deliver genuine change which Malawians are looking for,” Chakwera said.
Political analyst George Phiri believes Chilima was talking about the leadership of the alliance and the continuity of working together in different positions.
“I think Chilima meant that for this time, the leader of the alliance is Chakwera and if they continue with the alliance, the leader will be Chilima and not necessarily talking about the term of presidency,” Phiri said.
Meanwhile, speaking during a political rally he addressed in Mangochi Sunday, Chakwera challenged potential voters to use the forthcoming election to denounce what he described as social and economic stagnation of their lives.
“Most of you were following what transpired in the election court case. It is only God who made this possible and it is now our responsibility to vote for Tonse Alliance. Literally, Tonse Alliance is an alliance of all Malawians who are fed up with abject poverty, impunity and disregard of rule of law,” he said.
He then pledged transformation of Mangochi Town into a lake city with its own airport and other infrastructure.
Chakwera also said Tonse Alliance would revamp the fishing sector by promoting value addition of fish from Lake Malawi.
In her remarks, former president Joyce Banda asked the people of Malawi to vote for the Tonse Alliance, saying the alliance is prepared to transform everyone’s life.
Banda, who delivered the majority of her speech in ChiYao, said her two-year presidency between 2012 and 2014 is an indication of how the Tonse Alliance would transform lives of poor Malawians.
“Did I not sell affordable fertiliser? Did I not build houses for the poor? Did I not end electricity blackouts in my tenure? This is why I am saying vote for the Tonse Alliance which is being led by Dr Chakwera and Dr Chilima,” she said.