Mixed views after Petra dumps Tonse

Maurice Munthali

People’s Transformation Party (Petra)’s decision to dump the Tonse Alliance has drawn mixed reactions, with a political analyst commending the party for the move while the main alliance partner, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), has described the development as an indicator that the current administration respects constitutional provisions on freedom of association.

Thursday afternoon, Petra president, who was also Tonse Alliance spokesperson, Kamuzu Chibambo told The Daily Times that his party has decided to leave the alliance because of the government’s alleged failure to demonstrate commitment to fight corruption.

Earlier in the day, the party had issued a statement, in which it cited the arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma, her interdiction and “looming hunger” due to the purported failure of the Affordable Inputs Programme among the factors that have prompted it to make for the exit door.


The party further faulted the Tonse Alliance administration for closing Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation offices.

Poor road infrastructure and shortage of drugs in public hospitals are some of the factors cited for the party’s decision.

“When we went to campaign for the current regime in 2020, one of the issues we spoke strongly against was corruption. Fighting corruption; that is what Malawians are looking forward to. We are very sad that that is no longer the case in this country,” Chibambo said.


MCP, which led the Tonse Alliance partners in the June 23 2020 court-ordered election, said yesterday that Petra has exercised its right.

He said although the party could have loved it if all partners remained together for the whole five-year term, there is nothing it could do when a partner has exercised a constitutional right.

“Petra [officials] are only exercising their right not to associate themselves with the Tonse Alliance. There is nobody who can force anybody to stick to them in this country because even the [Republican] Constitution guarantees the right of freedom of association,” MCP spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali said.

Reacting to the development, political analyst George Phiri said he was not surprised with Petra’s decision.

“They have acted in the interest of Malawians. They [Petra] has been complaining but, I think, they have seen that they cannot complain anymore; all they need is to act. This is why they have gone out of the grouping,” Phiri said.

However, one of the alliance partners, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development president George Nnesa, said what Petra has done, to withdraw from the alliance, is against what four parties agreed in Blantyre a month ago to monitor the situation first.

In the 2020 fresh presidential election, MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera led the alliance, which defeated former president Peter Mutharika, and became the sixth Malawi president.

However, the symbols that appeared on the ballot were of the MCP.

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