The Tonse Alliance administration whose torch bearer Lazarus Chakwera is today set to be declared winner in Tuesday’s election, should brace for a formidable opposition in Parliament from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its bedfellow United Democratic Front (UDF).
While the Malawi Electoral Commission continues with the confirmation and determination of results from 28 districts, unofficial results from all the 9 271 polling stations indicate Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, is destined for the State House after scooping 60.3 percent of the votes.
Chakwera, who in the unofficial results polled 2 615 827 is trailed by DPP-UDF torch bearer Peter Mutharika with 1 693 203 votes representing 39 percent. Mbakuwaku Movement for Development candidate Peter Kuwani amassed 31 544 votes. Mutharika’s Tuesday’s votes are 247 500 shy of what he got in the annulled 2019 presidential poll, while Chakwera has gained over 834 000 votes in the new campaign where he paired with UTM Party president Saulos Chilima.
On Monday, the restructured Parliament will reconvene for the 2020/21 budget session with the Tonse Alliance standing on slightly below 70 members of Parliament (MPs) against the opposition bloc’s 100 plus.
This being the case, the DPP and its partner may form a dreadful numerical strength to give Tonse Alliance—comprising nine different political parties—a good run.
Things would be worse for the Tonse Alliance if the DPP and UDF alliance will also have the backing of the majority of the 55 independent MPs who
have been working with the former governing party.
But knowing the behaviour of legislators, the Tonse Alliance would also gain some support from the independents.
Initially, during the May 21 2019 parliamentary election, the DPP won 62 seats but after the High Court determinations that nullified three of them—Phalombe North East, Mangochi West and Mangochi North East—due to irregularities, the number of legislators dropped to 59.
On the other hand, the Tonse Alliance will rely on 55 MPs from MCP, five for People’s Party (PP), four from UTM and one from Alliance for Democracy (Aford) including a bonus of independents that jumped the blue vessel or are likely to switch their allegiance towards the incoming administration.
But Chancellor College political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the Tonse Alliance must not get worried about power balance in the august House because essentially “there is no ideological and major policy difference among all political parties in Malawi.”
has lost patronage of resources which were being used to secure partisan support.
“Other than MCP which has the largest loyal support base, none of the governing parties has retained its dominance and attractiveness as an electoral alternative,” he observed.
Thindwa said for DPP, though, its short and long term relevance would depend on how the leadership succession will be managed.
“Succession through democratic means offers the DPP the best chance or risk gracing the path travelled by both Aford and UDF,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from both the DPP-UDF Alliance as well as Tonse Alliance on what would be their strategy in Parliament and how they prepare to take their seats.
Tonse Alliance could also not be drawn to disclose their change agenda as they take over government saying Malawians should expect to hear that in the incoming President’s maiden inauguration speech.
“I cannot say what will be our change agenda because that will be done by the President-elect in his address and I don’t want to pre-empt so let us leave that to him,” said MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali.
Munthali said Malawians have been expressing dissatisfaction with the DPP because of poor public service delivery “to the point that every person knew the country was lost, and Malawians were in the wilderness.”
The electoral body had tallied 2 057 619 votes or 30 percent of the total registered votes from 14 districts during its last update yesterday but MEC Chairperson Chifundo Kachale was confident they were within the 36 to 48 hour period they had earlier promised to announce the final results