Former governing People’s Party (PP) has opted out of an opposition coalition formed by political parties’ not represented in Parliament in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections to field one candidate.
But newly launched United Transformation Movement (UTM)of Vice-President Saulos Chilima is discussing with the coalition’s membership for a possible companionship during the polls.
PP and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) were the only two political parties with representation in Parliament out of the 13 parties that have been working together for about two years before forming the Tikonze Dziko Lathu alliance.
In an interview yesterday, PP deputy spokesperson Ackson Kalaile confirmed the party was no longer part of the coalition currently chaired by former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha who is also president of Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD).
Said Kalaile: “During our NEC [national executive committee] meeting last month, we agreed to pull out from the alliance but if need arises we will rejoin.”
Yesterday, Chilumpha said UTM was now on board in their coalition, an assertion the movement’s spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said was “premature to conclude that way.”
“UTM has joined as one of the participants… and are working to ensure they participate in the next general elections as one grouping and they are doing their very best,” Chilumpha told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
But in an interview, Malunga said they had talks but that did not reach an agreement.
He told The Nation: “It’s not correct to conclude that because we participated in the talks then we have agreed. We have no problem coming together as a group but they have their issues why we should go together and we also have what we believe in.”
Malunga said a conclusion would be made upon listening to what Malawians want in terms of the political alliance.
On his part, Aford president Enock Chihana said while alliances were vital, the party was not in any electoral alliance because there was no memorandum of understanding.
“There is nothing concrete and nothing official. It’s just the ideas and principles that we share which bring us together as opposition parties,” he said.
Political analyst Mustafa Hussein described UTM’s intentions to join the coalition as a “good move” because the movement needs established parties and experienced politicians to build on its strength.