Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has officially dumped its 2019 running mate and financier, Sidik Mia, for UTM’s Saulos Chilima for an electoral alliance in the forthcoming presidential race.
The party made the resolution at its National Executive Committee meeting held yesterday where MCP’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, was given “full powers” to dump Mia for Chilima.
The party, in a statement signed by Publicty Secretary Maurice Munthali, says Chakwera has its full backing to “ascertain such terms of an alliance agreement” with Chilima “as will be most beneficial for Malawi”.
MCP says an alliance with UTM will “help galvanize the majority of the electorate towards victory” following the ruling by the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court that a candidate should secure 50%+1 vote to be president.
The ruling has forced political parties to go into alliances. UDF’s Atupele Muluzi, who had met with Chakwera, joined forces with the incumbent and ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Mutharika.
But even without Atupele Muluzi, a three horse race make a rerun of the top 2 contenders inevitable, forcing MCP to dump Mia, previously considered as the Lion King of Lower Shire where he hails from.
But architects behind the MCP/Alliance like MCP’s Parliamentarian for Kasungu East, Madalitso Kazombo, described Vice President Chilima as a more popular candidate than Mia who failed miserably to secure MCP’s votes in the South and among the Muslim community in Eastern Malawi during the 2019 race.
DPP’s Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) won comfortably in Mia’s backyard, pooling a total of 205 thousand votes against Chakwera’s 47 thousand votes.
As a result of MCP’s lackluster performance in the area, APM mockingly described Mia as a pussycat of Lower Shire.
In the predominantly Muslim Eastern region, Chakwera fell to a distant fourth position. His 57 thousand votes were half of what Saulos Chilima secured and third of UDF’s Atupele Muluzi in the 4 Eastern region districts. Evidently, Mia also failed to secure votes MCP needed among his fellow Muslims.
Overall, Chilima came second in Southern Region while Chakwera was on third position, securing only half of Chilima’s total regional votes. Clearly, Mia failed to resonate with voters in both Southern and Eastern regions.
It is not surprising, therefore, that MCP bigwigs called Mia a total waste, urging Chakwera to take Chilima instead of Mia to bed soon after the ConCourt ruling.
“We looked at the figures Mia brought from the South, there was nothing much. Only one seat that of his wife was won convincingly. This has undermined his position as juggernaut” said Kazombo.
Chilima also controlled the North where Chakwera came second while Mutharika settled for the third position, making the UTM leader as a competitive contender for an alliance.
Mia is yet to comment on the matter.
However, Chilima’s 2019 presidential running mate, Michael Usi, has openly said he has no issues with UTM forging an alliance with another party even when such a move would result in losing his running-mate position.
Usi told a rally in Blantyre last month that he is ready to step aside when coalition talks with other political parties start.