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Lazarus Chakwera opens up on Sidik Mia

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President, Lazarus Chakwera, has admitted to ever approached politician and businessman, Sidik Mia, to join the party but said it is too early for people to dwell much on 2019 running mate issue.

He was responding to the reports that he is contemplating on taking Mia on board to be his running mate in 2019 and wondered why running mate should be an issue at this stage.

Chakwera told Times Television Exclusive host Brian Banda that he has been talking to many people including businesspeople to join MCP to strengthen it.

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“I am hanging out with everybody in this nation. I am hanging out with people you know nothing about, why has Sidik Mia’s name been singled out? I am talking to all manners of people in the south and at one stage I will give you their names. I am talking to them about making up their mind to join Malawi Congress Party. Some have decided so, others have not decided so.

“You need him to confirm but I have asked him to[join MCP]. He will answer when he wants to answer just like I have asked several other people to join Malawi Congress Party in the North and in the Centre. I have also asked this great farmer and businessman, Nick Yianakis,” Chakwera said.

Asked if MCP will have a democratic way of choosing a running mate, Chakwera said the party constitution inspired his choice of 2014 tripartite elections running mate and the same will guide him in future.

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“First of all, I do not understand what you mean by democratic way but I would like to tell you what I did last time then you will probably find out what other parties do. First of all, the constitution of Malawi Congress Party gives whoever is president, who has been endorsed by the convention, to make his or her own choice as to who the running mate should be.

“What I did last time, I sought counsel, I prayed, I asked people [and] they gave all manner of suggestions, eventually I decided that I would pick someone who had been elected at a convention as my first deputy. It was purely my decision because I am empowered to do that,” he said.

Chakwera said his relationship with MCP vice president and Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, who was his running mate in 2014 tripartite elections, is excellent.

“He has been an excellent Speaker and he has offered excellent direction and excellent counsel in ways that Malawi Congress Party has benefitted to date. I don’t know what you mean by squabbles and again it depends on who is telling you what. Because I respect him in Parliament as leader of all of us.

He, however, was elusive on whether he will pick Msowoya in the 2019 tripartite elections.

“You know what they say, I think it was… was it former president JZU Tembo, who said two weeks in politics is a long time and two and half years from now is a mighty long time. What I decided even after the convention of 2013 was done just before polling. Why would you want to ask me those kind of questions when they are waiting questions?

“I am not talking to a number of people for running mate, I am talking to a number of people to strengthen Malawi Congress Party as we rebuild. I am looking for people who will help rebuild Malawi Congress Party, I am not searching for a running mate… this is not the time for it,” Chakwera said.

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