State Vice-President Khumbo Kachali has accepted that he has been left out as President Joyce Banda’s running mate, saying that he is not disturbed by the development.
In an interview sought to seek his reaction to the President’s decision to opt for youthful Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe as her running mate, Kachali, who was reluctant to open up, said: “I don’t think I am disturbed. I don’t think so.”
When she unveiled Gwengwe on Thursday, President Banda said she left out Kachali because their union was a two-year contract to finish former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s term.
“All I can say is I am still State Vice-President until May 20,” said Kachali, dispelling any possibilities of stepping down.
He was speaking in a telephone interview from his farm in Mzimba.
“Right now I am resting at the farm, I am looking at my tobacco, cows and other things,” he added just at the time President Banda was speaking at Comesa Hall, in Blantyre after presenting her nomination papers.
On Wednesday, Kachali told our sister newspaper, The Nation, “if am not picked as running mate, it is a vote of no confidence in me.”
“It’s the president’s prerogative, but If I’m not picked, then it’s a vote of no confidence in me,” he said.
So far, it is only the Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera who has picked a vice-president chosen by party convention as running mate in the May 20 presidential polls.
President of Political Science Association Joseph Chunga concurred with Kachali, saying “when you have a sitting vice-president, you can only expect that one to be running mate.”
“When parties are running as serious systems, you expect that to be the case,” he said.
A member of JB’s inner circle said Gwengwe has long been groomed for the position beginning with his shift from deputy minister to MG3 ministerial vehicle when he was appointed Trade Minister, but apress conference on Thursday.
“That MG3 is not just a number. That shows that you are a senior minister,” said one JB confidant.
Another confidant added that: “This young man has been postured for that for some time and yet some elderly men couldn’t read that and started talking ill of him to HE.”
By picking Gwegwe, the President has decided to leave Kachali who is also PP vice -president for the North as well as her other two deputies – Uladi Mussa for Centre and Brown Mpinganjira for South.
Meanwhile, the President presented her nomination papers yesterday with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Maxon Mbendera saying that she has an obvious advantage over other presidential candidates is a fact that cannot be ignored.
Mbendera said it is inevitable for an incumbent to enjoy the obvious advantage over others.
The MEC chairperson said it was folly to suggest that a President must resign to level the playing field before presenting nomination papers because the Malawi Constitution does not allow a vacuum in the presidency.
But Mbendera said the solution to this was to allow other presidential candidates fair coverage on the national broadcaster MBC, bearing in mind that the President always meets people and is covered in the public media all the time.
Mbendera also urged President Banda, accompanied by her running mate, to do a civilised campaign, adding that would set as an indicator to other presidential candidates.
He said politicians must stick to clean issued-based campaign and to avoid violence.
Mbendera said the electoral body was prepared for free, fair and credible elections.
Banda, in her speech after presenting her nomination papers, said the two years she had was to lay foundation.
“Our democratic governance is open, tolerant and based on rule of law and respect for civil liberties. As we know, the previous elections were held in an environment of violence, fear and intimidation. This is not the case now.
“As incumbent Head of State, in the past two years, I have worked hard towards building an inclusive, participatory and equitable society. I have shown that it is possible to develop Malawi,” Banda said.
She assured Malawians that as President, she will ensure that Malawi has peaceful, free and fair elections.
“Today, I call upon all Malawians to continue with me on this journey as I seek my own full mandate as President of this country,” she said.
Also presenting nomination papers to MEC yesterday was Tisintha Alliance candidate George Nnensa and Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo.