The country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima has described government’s decision to abolish the quota system of selecting students to public universities as deceptive, saying only his UTM Party has been condemning the system over the years.
Addressing a rally in Mzuzu on Sunday, the UTM Party leader said his party will not compromise on its manifesto which he said is development-oriented.
Said Chilima: “They are copying our manifesto to abolish the quota [system of selecting students to public universities]. But if they want to deal with the UTM manifesto, they should remove presidential immunity. Removing the quota system is not enough as the biggest problem is presidential immunity.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Thursday announced the abolition of the quota system of selecting students into public universities.
Chilima also spoke on the need for government to upgrade to bitumen several roads in the North that are in bad shape.
He said: “There are many roads in bad shape. The Kafukule-Mzalangwe-Mzimba Road, Usisya, Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa, Njakwa-Livingstonia roads are just among the many that need to be worked on.”
The VP added that the party is embarking on a more rigorous campaign than the one for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Chilima, who started his speech in Tumbuka and captivated thousands of people that gathered at Mzuzu Stadium upper ground for the rally, reiterated that UTM Party is still in talks with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) for a possible electoral alliance.
He said: “While waiting for elections, there is need for every UTM member to drum up support for the party. There is need to reach to grass-roots to have them vote for UTM.
“Last time we were doing 10 whistle-stops a day. This time we will be doing 15 whistle-stops a day to ensure that we change the country. We are not relenting.”
On the possible alliance with MCP, Chilima said people will be informed on the outcome of the talks, urging them to support whatever the outcome maybe and ensure that UTM gets into government.
He said other parties are under pressure to implement changes due to the 50 percent+one requirement to win the presidential election slated for May 19 2020. He said parties have been taken unawares and will do things to hoodwink people.
In her remarks, UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati also trashed government’s decision to abolish the quota system, saying it is copying from the UTM president who has been condemning the system.
She said that the party is still talking with MCP on a possible alliance and will communicate the outcome to the public.
MCP has also shown interest in an alliance with UTM Party, with the two parties each setting up committees to discuss the way forward on the issue.
During the rally, United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential running mate in the annulled May 2019 Tripartite Elections Frank Mwenifumbo, who is also Alliance for Democracy (Aford) member, said there is so much leadership potential in Chilima.
He said he will now support and vote for UTM Party, adding the Northern Region is decided on UTM Party and he had no choice but to join them.
“I have seen where the wind is blowing. I’m following the wave for the region,” said Mwenifumbo.
He also stated that Chilima fought for country’s democracy alongside the late Aford president Thom ChakufwaChihana and has a proven record of excellent leadership.
This was Chilima’s second rally after the February 3 2020 Constitutional Court ruling which nullified the May 2019 presidential election and ordered a fresh one. He held his first rally at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe last week.
The court also ordered that government affairs revert to the pre-May 2019 election status, thereby reinstating Chilima as the country’s Vice-President.