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Sidik Mia joins MCP; ‘I will take over’

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IT has come to pass. As predicted by many, veteran politician and former minister of transport Sidik Mia was yesterday unveiled as a member of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Mia becomes the second high profile politician to join the MCP in a week after former finance minister Ken Kandodo rejoined the party. Kandodo was yesterday unveiled at Ngabu Sports Ground together with Mia.

Speaking to a well-patronised rally, Mia said he had joined the MCP not to tussle for positions but to help rebuild the party.

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“I am not here to take over positions but when someone is sleeping on the job, I will take over. Why not?” Mia, who spoke for 28 minutes, said. Mia, who was accompanied by his wife Abida, said he had joined the MCP because it is the only party with sound policies in Malawi.

He said the current administration of Peter Mutharika has become synonymous with systematic failure in almost every sector of national development. “Malawi is breeding,” Mia said, citing shortage of drugs in hospitals, dissatisfaction among workers in the country, among others.

Mia said the bulk of Malawi’s problems are man-made, observing that public officials are stealing money; money that would, otherwise, be used to promote higher education in public universities.

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“Most development projects in Malawi were done under Dr Kamuzu Banda [’s regime]. The agricultural extension system was up and running then. Only MCP can bring back lost glory. I have nothing to fear [in joining the MCP] because I never stole a single tambala [from the government],” Mia said.

Speaking later in an interview, Mia said he would accept Chakwera’s decision on running mate. “If the president chooses me as his running mate, that will be according to God’s will. If I am not chosen, I will still support the party. I strongly believe that only the MCP can bail the country out.

The challenges facing the country can be solved within one year. I repeat, we can solve all the problems facing the country in one year. What we need is proper leadership,” Mia said.

Apart from Mia, other notable people who joined the MCP include Ulemu Chilapondwa, Halima Daudi, Bonface Kadzamira, Kondwani Kuwonga, Pearson Kulinji and Rodgers Newa. Three weeks ago, Mia announced his return to active politics and made known his intention to become the country’s vice president. Mia’s move raises debate on the political future of MCP Vice President and Speaker of parliament Richard Msowoya.

Msowoya and MCP Secretary General Gustave Kaliwo, who the past months called for a party convention, were both absent from the rally. Speaking at the rally, MCP President Lazarus Chakwera said the party is laying foundation to wrestle power from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“As president of the MCP, I am inviting everyone who wants us to rid Malawi of nepotism, corruption and theft of public funds to join MCP,” Chakwera said. Chakwera, who blamed the DPP for the country’s woes, came with a new slogan “One Malawi, One Nation, One Vision”.

Mia’s joining of the MCP, at best, brings at least 676, 984 people into the reaching range of the MCP, as the 2008 Population and Housing Census indicates that the Lower Shire districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje have population of 438, 895 and 238, 089 people respectively, although all these are not voters. During the 2014 elections, MCP lost to DPP by about 440, 000 votes.

Mia expressed interest in contesting for the position of vice president in the 2019 elections in June this year. Mia told The Sunday Times at the time that, having served as Cabinet minister and legislator for Nkombezi Constituency in Chikwawa District, he had set his eyes on the vice presidency.

“I have been consulting family, business friends, religious leaders, among others, and, at an appropriate time, I will tell you which party I will join. There is one party that has ideologies and Malawians should look forward to the day I will make the announcement.

“I know that I have the capability to serve affectively as vice president, hence at no time have I expressed interest in contesting for the presidency. I am definitely coming back into politics because I want to continue serving the people. Someone said that politics is the best form of charity,” Mia said. Mia, who has held a number of ministerial positions, asked Malawians who believe in his capabilities to support his ambitions.

The development did not go down well with MCP vice president, Richard Msowoya, who, in figurate speech, said only coins make noise while [bank] notes make no such noise. Mia was one of the ministers in the DPP and People’s Party (PP), having also served the United Democratic Front (UDF).

He joined politics as Chikwawa Nkombezi Member of Parliament in 2004, but took a break from politics after resigning from PP in January 2014 when he resigned from his position before the 2014 tripartite elections. The MCP seems to be making inroads, politically, as, in May this year, Afrobarometer released findings that indicated that the MCP would win the presidential elections if they were conducted at the time of the survey.

Afrobarometer rightfully predicted the results of the May 20 2014 tripartite elections, which it tipped in favour of the then opposition DPP. However, the then ruling PP, led by its leader Joyce Banda, questioned the research findings.

According to the latest Afrobarometer findings, the MCP is likely to win with 32 percent while DPP would come second, 27 percent of votes. The results further indicate that the UDF would be on third position, with 11 percent and former ruling PP would get 7 percent of the votes.

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