United Transformation Movement Secretary General Patricia Kaliati has claimed that Lhomwe Paramount Ngolongoliwa endorsed Vice President Saulos Chilima to be the country’s president after the 2019 elections.
Kaliati made the claim during the launch of the UTM on Saturday at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe.
She said businessman Leston Mulli and Ngolongoliwa used to invite Kaliati and other politicians to Mulli’s house where they encouraged them to express their support for the vice president.
“Tithokoze Mulli ndi Ngolongoliwa chifukwa chosankha Dr Saulos Chilima…. Amatiyitana kunyumba kuti tikamusapote Chilima,” she said without elaborating.
Another UTM member made a similar claim in May saying that Mulli – who has never publicly endorsed Chilima – wanted Chilima to replace Mutharika but made a U-turn after being given the money as compensation for losses in the 2011 anti-government demonstrations.
“Mulli was one of [the] rebels but, because he received his money, he backed down. In fact, how would the government pay K3.1 billion without an argument in court, not even an evaluation of damages? Is that fair?” Ngalande told the local media.
According to Ngalande, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government feared Mulli would use his influence in the Lhomwe belt to erode the party’s popularity in the region.
The UTM which is led by Chilima is a breakaway party formed by former members of the DPP after they failed to convince President Peter Mutharika to pave way from Chilima.