The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the newly-formed United Transformation Movement (UTM) yesterday held political rallies in Karonga and Mulanje, respectively.
Speaking at Baka Ground in Karonga where DPP treasurer general Jappie Mhango addressed the rally, the governing party’s secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey claimed that UTM was born out of frustration by its leader, Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
She described UTM as a “party of babies” and full of jealousy.
Said Jeffrey: “UTM is not a party, it is just an organisation… Their plan was to steal the party, they started printing T-shirts and making noise that he would stand during the convention. But thanks to you because you still supported Mutharika.”
Taking his turn, Mhango avoided attacking Chilima and other opposition leaders, focusing instead on reminding people of the various development projects that the DPP government has done in the Northern Region.
He cited projects such as the Jenda-Edingeni, Songwe Karonga and Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay roads as well as the Mzimba, Karonga and Chitipa water projects.
Other politicians who attended the rally were DPP regional governor for the North Kenneth Sanga, Khwauli Msiska, Symon Vuwa Kaunda and the Reverend Christopher Mzomera Ngwira.
But addressing a rally at Namphungo Primary School Ground in Mulanje West constituency—where a sizeable crowd turned up in what could be a test for the UTM bid to invade the DPP stronghold— Chilima said if elected to the presidency in the 2019 Tripartite Elections he will push for the release of land for landless people in Mulanje and Thyolo districts.
He said: “Without land, people cannot do anything to develop themselves. As such, when we take over the running of government next year, we will engage some big land owners to release part of their land to landless people. We will not allow this selfishness to continue. You only have one home and it is in your localities where you should feel at home.”
Chilima also pledged to develop the tourism sector in the district, which he described as having potential to contribute significantly to the country’s economic development.
“We intend to uplift efforts of making Mulanje a tourist attraction hub. Because of that, we need to plant more trees to make Mulanje Mountain greener.
“We will also ensure that people here have potable water, well-equipped hospitals that are closer to their localities and ensure that no child drops out of school because of lack of school fees,” he added.
The rally at Namphungo was said to be a first in a series of meetings that UTM is planning to conduct in rural areas.