President Joyce Banda’s governing People’s Party (PP) has formally effected its electoral alliance with the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) after initially facing resistance from both sides.
PP officials earlier rebuffed the alliance talk, saying Banda has perfomed in her two years in office and has won hearts of many Malawians; hence, does not need a boost from another party.
On the other hand, some Aford members rebuked the alliance, saying it was being initiated by Minister of Youth and Sports Enoch Chihana for his personal benefit.
But speaking in an interview yesterday, PP acting secretary general Paul Maulidi said the alliance is on and that it will help boost morale for Banda in the coming elections.
He further said PP has no problem with Aford having its own shadow members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors, arguing the aim of the alliance is to drum up support for Banda at presidential level.
Said Maulidi: “What matters are the votes for our president and not what will transpire in the constituencies and wards. Aford is a sovereign party and we cannot stop it from fielding its own candidates [MPs and councillors]. They will have their candidates and we will have our own.”
However, PP suspended candidates who opted to stand as independents but vowed to support Banda, arguing they will bring confusion to the party.
Maulidi said unlike the Aford candidates, the independents would be using PP colours and symbols which would confuse people. He said Aford candidates will be flying their colours and have their symbols.
During a PP rally held at Chibavi in Mzuzu on Wednesday, Chihana said Aford has benefited a lot from PP and with the alliance, it will continue to benefit. He said one of the benefits is his presence in Cabinet and that more Aford members would get positions in government should Banda win.
He assured Banda of support in the elections, saying the alliance has given Banda an upper hand in the Northern Region.
“Our president should be assured of the votes here in the North. She does not even need to come and campaign here when there is me, machine [PP provincial chair the Reverend Christopher Ngwira] and Mthesanjala [Harry Mkandawire],” said Chihana.
In his remarks, Ngwira said the alliance is the end of opposition parties in the North. He said the presence of Aford has made the campaign easier for PP, saying Banda will sweep all the votes in the North.
Commenting on the development, Chancellor College associate professor of political science Blessings Chinsinga said considering the history of Aford in the Northern Region, the alliance is the way to go for PP if Aford still commands respect.
He said if Aford will enjoy government positions, it is in the right path.
Said Chinsinga: “The Northern Region vote is important when it comes to winning elections. Considering the history of Aford and if it is still the same Aford [a party that commanded respect in the North], the alliance is of importance to both parties as Aford expects to be considered in government positions.”
However, he warned that the alliance could backfire if it is not party-driven.