Paida Mpaso talks with Peopleâ€™s Transformation Party (Petra) president Kamuzu Chibambo on the formation of a grand coalition by 15 opposition parties in Malawi.
You are the chairperson of the grand coalition, do you think this is going to work?
Let me begin by clarifying that as of now, there is no coalition yet. We are a grouping of opposition political parties of which I am the chairperson during the month of April. Chairmanship is on rotational basis. As to whether the initiative is going to achieve its goal, that is our sincere belief. Itâ€™s important to be optimistic in life. Some of us have been in a coalition before; itâ€™s a process which ought to be given time. Patience is required because as all with a political understanding will testify, it can be a complex process sewing together a number of interests and factors.
How is this coalition going to work considering that there are many political parties with different interests?
Having interests is perfectly legitimate. It is the case that people go into politics with different interests; some merely influence specific outcomes, some to be members of Parliament, or indeed to become president. As long as the major reason is to serve the people, then such interest is legitimate and [needs] to be promoted. As to who is going to lead the grouping, we are not there yet. The process is pretty much in its early stages. The people of Malawi will be kept abreast of important developments from time to time. All I can ask for is patience on their part so things can be done properly.
Some figures in the opposition have been saying they are coming up with a plan?
The truth of the matter is there is no plan yet. It would be premature to talk about a plan before any legal framework is put in place. What is important to tell the people of Malawi is that the process is in motion. A plan will emanate from a successful completion of the process. The determination to move on with the process is certainly there notwithstanding challenges that could arise along the way.
There are some parties that have not joined the â€˜coalitionâ€™, do you think they will join?
It would be fabulous for all opposition parties to join the initiative, but letâ€™s not be naÃ¯ve here. Some may choose otherwise. Mind you, it is a voluntary decision. One can only hope the majority of opposition parties will see the wisdom of joining of it.
How confident are you that you will achieve your goals?
I believe that when we put the interest of the people of Malawians above our personal interests, the rest is possible. What is crucial is to approach the process with sincere hearts and honesty. As I said, some of the parties have been in previous coalitions; they have learnt the advantages or disadvantages of such political arrangements. They have also learned what would enhance or destroy such a process. If all those experiences can be brought on board, then the people of Malawi should be hopeful. The idea is to mount a formidable force in readiness for the 2014 elections so the people of Malawi can go into the elections with real hope to see change. Things cannot continue at this pace. The hardships the people of Malawi are facing are brutal.
How are you going to select the presidential candidate?
Again let me repeat we are not yet there. We would be jumping the gun to talk about the issue at this point in time. That question will be once a coalition is in place. Let me allay fears any one may harbor. In addition, it ought to borne in mind that once a coalition is formed it will not only be a question of determining the mode of selecting a presidential candidate but a host of other pertinent questions. What gives me confidence is that the process is not new as several political parties involved now have been there before. Of course, challenges are bound to arise which when our motives are right we shall be able to overcome them. Meanwhile, we implore the people of Malawi for their prayers for Godâ€™s guidance in this critical process.