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Running mates in thrilling encounter

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By Jameson Chauluka

Ending corruption and equal distribution of resources dominated the second round of presidential running mate debates Thursday in Blantyre.

Sidik Mia of Malawi Congress Party, Frank Mwenifumbo of United Democratic Front and Michael Usi of UTM were involved in a heated debate in Blantyre with direct attacks, especially between Usi and Mia.

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The panellists disagreed more than they agreed on the relevance of chiefs, how to end corruption, promotion of human rights and economic transformation among others.

While the panellists agreed that there is need to decisively deal with corruption, Usi and Mwenifumbo said their parties would remove presidential immunity so that the presidents are answerable to Malawians while in power but Mia said MCP does not have a position on the matter yet.

“Let us make it clear that if the president knows that they will be prosecuted if they steal public money, they will not be involved in any corrupt acts and that is what we want,” said Usi, a position which was backed by Mwenifumbo.

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Mia, however, said he has total confidence in the integrity of his boss Lazarus Chakwera saying the MCP’s president cannot be involved in any corrupt practices.

“The Chakwera Super Hi 5 clearly puts ending corruption as one of our priorities in MCP. We have not discussed anything on removing immunity of the president but, if that is what Malawians want, then we will do it,” he said.

The panellists also disagreed on the best methodologies of wealth creation and distribution.

While Mia pledged to increase tax-fee band to K100,000, Mwenifumbo said the move would mean that only few people are paying taxes arguing that federal system of government is the best way of ensuring that all parts of the country develop equally.

Usi said the problem is not wealth creation saying the country has over time created a lot of wealth which is concentrated among few individuals.

Among the highlights of the debates were two children who stunned the audience and panellists alike by asking what the panellists would do to ensure their nutrition as well as protection from abuse.

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