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The complexities of the incoming Malawi Government

25 Jun 2020 at 12:19hrs | Views
Image Credit: BBC
While at face value, the victory against the Mutharika dynasty in Malawi is attributed to Lazarus Chakwera and his Malawi Congress Party, the reality is that MCP provided the Presidential candidate for Tonse Alliance which brought together 7 different political parties in a rather complex fashion.

The matrix is as follows:

1) Saulos Chilima, a former Airtel Malawi CEO, who has been Vice President of Malawi since May 2014, left the (then) ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in July 2018 and launched the United Transformation Movement (UTM). Even though he left the ruling party as Vice President of the Republic, he could not be fired from office due to the running mate clause of the Malawi Constitution. Chilima set to establish an alliance of former Presidents and Vice Presidents when he held talks with former Malawi President Joyce Banda's Peoples Party, and Tikonze People's Movement which is led by former Vice President Cassim Chilumpha. Both Joyce Banda and Cassim Chilumpha later withdrew from the alliance citing "disagreement with the selection of a presidential running mate for the candidate of the upcoming election" as their reason. Saulos Chilima contested the 2019 tripartite elections with Dr. Michael Usi as his running mate came third with 20.24% of the popular vote and UTM won 4 seats in the National Assembly. The election was nullified by the High Court leading to a rerun held in June 2020.

2) Lazarus Chakwera, a former President of Assemblies of God Malawi, is President of MCP. At the party's last Congress, they opted for regional balancing and that led to the election of two Vice Presidents of the party, both of whom are from different regions with Chakwera. The Malawian Constitution provides for one running mate. So for the 2019 Elections, Chakwera nominated one of the MCP VPs Sidik Mia as his running mate.

3) For the June 2020 Presidential rerun, Chilima set aside his own Presidential ambitions and stood as Chakwera's running mate. The agreement was endorsed by other opposition political parties leading to the establishment of the Tonse Alliance.

4) Part of the thorny Tonse Alliance Agreement issues include that:
a) Chilima will be both Vice President and Minister of Finance
b) In total there will be 21 Ministers, each with two deputies
c) MCP and UTM will share Cabinet and senior civil service positions on a 50-50 basis
d) Within its 50%, MCP shall also "take care" of People's Party (PP) of former president Joyce Banda and Freedom Party led by former vice-president Khumbo Kachali.
e) Within its 50%, UTM will take care of Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Progressive People's Movement (PPM), Mafunde and Petra.

Source - Discent Collins Bajila
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