Vice-President Saulos Chilima is not among nine presidential hopefuls expected to present nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) tomorrow and Thursday.
This development has triggered hints that Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera could be the torchbearer for the two parties’ alliance ticket.
According to a statement signed by MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika, Chakwera will be the first to present his nomination papers on MCP ticket for the July 2 fresh presidential election from 9am at Soche International Conference Centre at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.
The development came hours after Chilima, during a press conference he addressed earlier at UTM Digital Command Centre in Area 12, Lilongwe, told journalists that the torchbearer for the Tonse Alliance will be either himself or Chakwera. earlier at UTM Digital
However, Chilima could not be reached for comment last evening on what the new development meant.
Since sealing the deal on March 19,
UTM and MCP have been mum on the leadership for their alliance which also includes People’s Party, Freedom Party, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Umodzi Party, Alliance for Democracy (Aford) and People’s Transformation (Petra).
The MEC statement indicates that Chakwera will be followed by Shaibu Mustafa of New Vision for Democracy Party at 10am, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development at 11am then independent aspirants Ras Chikomeni David Chirwa at 2pm and Revelend Hadwick Kaliya at 3pm.
On Thursday, according to the programme, it will be the turn of independent Khwechani Wesuze Nkhoma at 9am followed by other independents Phunziro Mvula (10am) and Smart Swira (2pm).
Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party will be the last to present his nomination papers at 3pm on Thursday.
The schedule is similar to the one for the annulled May 21 2019 presidential election as Chakwera was first and Mutharika the last to file papers.
Ironically, Chirwa and Swira last year
failed to garner both the required signatures and raise the K2 million nomination fees. However, Kuwani and Kaliya were in the fray.
In compliance with the coronavirus pandemic precautionary measures, MEC has restricted entrance to the hall to 20 delegates, including the presidential candidates and their running mates, their spouses, security and party officials