As the clock ticks towards May 2014 Tripartite Elections, analysts have warned political parties that they face a race against time in forming meaningful alliances that can win them elections.
The warning comes as no political party has indicated that it will go into an alliance in the polls.
Political analyst Mustafa Hussein said in an interview yesterday parties are doing themselves injustice by being silent on the matter. He observed that alliances need a lot of spadework just like the formation of a political party.
“[The political parties] are behind on alliances, no doubt about that. Time is not waiting for anybody because soon we will be voting in the tripartite elections,” said Hussein.
He noted that after forming the alliances, the parties will need to inform the electorate in good time about what they stand for.
“There will be pure marketing and there is no shortcut about that. Enough time is needed to market those alliances and even to get feedback from the public,” said Hussein.
Another political commentator Blessings Chinsinga said parties intending to form an alliance need time to understand each other.
“But you have seen where parties go into alliance of convenience in the last minute. Such alliances don’t last long and political leaders end up quarrelling,” he said.
Chinsinga said parties can win with a small margin if they go solo in the elections.
People’s Party (PP), however, said it has no plans to enter into an alliance with any party.
“Our focus currently is to go to the election alone and we have no doubt that we are going to carry the day. This is [probably] the reason why we are not concerned, worried and interested about the alliance talk,” said deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda.
United Democratic Front (UDF) said it is strong enough to win the elections alone.
“During the 2012 convention, we elected honourable Atupele Muluzi as the party presidential candidate. Shortly, we will announce his running mate,” said publicity secretary Ken Ndanga.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholas Dausi was noncommittal whether the party will enter into an alliance in the elections.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) administrative secretary Portipher Chidaya said the party has not discussed the matter.
“If the party sees the need to discuss [entering into] an alliance, the president will call for the meeting,” said Chidaya.
The country has witnessed alliances during every election since the advent of multiparty democracy.
In 1994, the UDF, which won the elections, formed the Common Electoral Group (CEG) with some smaller parties.
In 1999, there was MCP/Aford Alliance whose presidential candidate was Gwanda Chakuanba, then MCP leader. The alliance lost to UDF.
In 2004, there was Mgwirizano Coalition among Republican Party, People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), Petra, MDP and MDU. It lost the elections also to UDF.
In 2009, there was MCP/UDF alliance whose presidential candidate was MCP president John Tembo after then UDF leader, Bakili Muluzi was barred from standing. It was also beaten by DPP.