Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says the claim by the party’s Chief Whip in Parliament Sam Kawale that party leader Lazarus Chakwera will lead the MCP-UTM Alliance is his personal opinion.
MCP and UTM announced their electoral alliance last month but are yet to update the nation on who will lead the coalition in the forthcoming fresh presidential elections with just few days remaining before presentation of nomination papers.
It was expected, since the alliance was formed, that the torchbearer will either be Chakwera or UTM leader and Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima.
However, on Thursday morning, Kawale who is also a Member of Parliament for Dowa North East said in a Facebook post that Chakwera is the one to lead the alliance.
“Ready to vote for Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the Torch Bearer of the grand alliance,” he wrote.
When asked to comment on the matter, Deputy Publicity Secretary for the MCP, Ezekiel Ching’oma, asked Malawians and supporters of all the parties in the alliance to have patience saying an announcement will be made soon and they should not be shaken with mere talks of people.
“On the issue of who will lead the alliance, Malawians should be patient, we are going to announce soon,” said Ching’oma in an interview.
On his part, UTM Publicity Secretary Chidanti Malunga told Malawi24 that Malawians should wait for the official communication as it will be made public when the time is right.
He said Kawale just as any Malawian or supporter of any party which is in the alliance is entitled to his own opinion.
“We have been saying that if there can be anything regarding official communication then all the parties shall make the official announcement together.
“Anyone regardless of his or her position in any party has got the right to say their opinions, what I can tell you is that from the alliance there is no official communication at the moment,” said Malunga.
According to Malawi Electoral Commission MEC, the presentation of the nomination papers by the Presidential candidates and their running mates is scheduled to be conducted next week on 6-7 May at the Sunbird Mount Soche in the commercial city of Blantyre.
MCP went into an electoral alliance with several parties including UTM whose leader is the estranged Vice President Saulos Chilima, People’s Party of former President Joyce Banda, Umodzi Party and Aford.
On March 19 this year, UTM and MCP sealed the alliance during the signing ceremony which took place at Kamuzu Institute of Sports in Lilongwe.
Malawi is expected to go to polls on July 2 this year after panel of five Judges of the Constitutional Court on February 3, 2020 nullified 19 May 2019 presidential elections after Chakwera and Chilima complained that it was marred by several irregularities.
However, President Peter Mutharika and MEC appealed the case to the Supreme Court which heard the matter some days ago and it is yet to deliver its ruling which may either sustain the ConCourt ruling or not.
Meanwhile the phase two of the voter registration is in progress in readiness of the fresh presidential elections.