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Presidents face off

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By Jameson Chauluka:

All is set for the first round of the presidential candidates’ debate at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe today.

Chairperson of the debates organising taskforce, Teresa Ndanga, said Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, Saulos Chilima of UTM and United Democratic Front’s Atupele Muluzi would take part in the debates.

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“The first round of the debate is on. We are still in talks with [Professor Peter Mutharika] president of Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] on their attendance but they have not confirmed yet,” she said.

Recently, DPP issued a statement saying they would shun the presidential and presidential running mate debates because they had reservations with the organisation of the events.

The second debate would be held on April 2, with John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development), Cassim Chilumpha (Tikonze Movement) and independent candidate Reverend Kaliya as panelists.

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The third and final round of the debate would be held on April 5.

The taskforce comprises Misa- Malawi, Times Group, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Centre for Multiparty Democracy, Democracy Works Foundation, Civil Society Agriculture Network, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Malawi Law Society, Public Affairs Committee, Voluntary Service Organisation, National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust and National Democratic Institute.

Malawi Congress Party spokesperson Maurice Munthali said Chakwera was ready to take part in the debate, saying it was an opportunity for Chakwera to address people who might not have a chance to meet him in person.

UTM’s director of campaign Lucius Banda said Chilima was an articulate leader who has always articulated beliefs and philosophies of the party well and ready to do the same.

UDF’s president, Atupele Muluzi, said was also attending the debate since he was invited.

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