UTM has threatened to leave the governing Tonse Alliance if its demands for better representation in terms of appointments to top jobs are not met.
According to a report by British fortnightly newsletter Africa Confidential, UTM which is led by Vice President Saulos Chilima and President Lazarus Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have been fighting over top jobs which has led to the delay to name new diplomats and release a new cabinet.
The newsletter also reported that Chakwera wants Minister of Energy Newton, Kambala who is a UTM member and a prominent businessman, to be fired.
“The UTM has given the MCP until 19 June, we hear, to meet its demands for better representation or they will leave the governing alliance.
“To be arguing over appointments to top jobs this long after the election is not a good look for either coalition partner, each of which accuses the other of hogging the best jobs. Much sought-after diplomatic appointments are being held up, and leaked documents indicate that most of the plum jobs are going to MCP allies,” the newsletter reported.
A UTM member confirmed to the local media about UTM’s frustrations over its members being sidelined for senior cabinet posts, embassies, parastatals and other key government departments.
“We have brilliant vibrant men and women who want to develop this country, but MCP’s behaviour is a stumbling block. We want to splint but they want us to walk, so we feel enough is enough,” the UTM member said.
President Chakwera had promised to name a new cabinet in March but failed to do so amid reports of fights in the alliance. The president then blamed Chilima for the delay, saying he did not have enough time to look at a cabinet assessment report presented to him by the vice president.
In May, State House said Chakwera has a prerogative to hire and fire ministers and he is at liberty to promise one thing today and later change his mind.
Senior MCP official Moses Kunkuyu last month also initiated talk of Chakwera being on the ballot in the 2025 elections despite a reported agreement that Chakwera’s would only rule for five years and Chilima will represent the alliance in 2025.
In response, UTM spokesperson Frank Mwenifumbo said the UTM was focusing on development.
“We are occupied with creating a very conducive environment for Dr Chakwera to implement and deliver what was promised. Matters of elections are not a priority now for UTM Party,” he said.