United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi has dismissed speculation that his party is going into a coalition with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Muluzi, who is also Minister for Health and Population in President Peter Mutharika’s Cabinet, denied the reports when he addressed a rally in Lilongwe’s Area 25 yesterday.
His reaction followed social media speculation that DPP and UDF, currently in a working relationship in Parliament, would form an electoral alliance with Muluzi earmarked as Mutharika’s running mate.
But in an interview yesterday, Muluzi said he is not aware of the development although he was quick to add that UDF will in due course outline how it will context the elections.
He said: “We have not arrived at a stage where we can tell people about the possible alliance. I am not aware of such discussions, but what I know is that I was elected as the leader for the party. Any discussions about possible alliance will be announced.”
Muluzi said his focus is on building the party and strengthening UDF in readiness for the coming the elections.
But University of Livingstonia (Unilia) political scientist George Phiri said DPP and UDF are likely to form an alliance because the two parties have lost popularity with the formation of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) led by Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
He said: “An alliance is possible, especially when the party knows that it does not have the large following. UDF and DPP have worked together previously until now when we are seeing that Muluzi is a minister in the DPP administration. It is possible that they are going to form an alliance.”
In a telephone interview last evening, DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister for Information and Communications Technology, said the two parties are not involved in any talks on the possibility of forming an electoral alliance.
He said: “What I know is UDF and DPP have been working together. I do not know anything regarding the extra circular arrangement. Those are sentimental issues.”
At the weekend, the social media was rife with reports of a DPP delegation meeting former president Bakili Muluzi to discuss the alliance. The reports claimed that UDF bargained for five Cabinet posts and that Atupele Muluzi be appointed Second Vice-President before the elect ions.
In 2004, Bakili Muluzi handpicked the late Bingu wa Mutharika for the presidential position, but barely a year into office, Bingu ditched UDF and formed DPP. n