Some political parties in the Tonse Alliance, whose torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera, won the June 23 presidential election, have expressed mixed views on appointments their leader has made so far, including the Cabinet.
In separate interviews, presidents of five of the six parties had different views on how they felt being left out after vigorously campaigning together since the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election.
Since his election, Chakwera has made a number of appointments, in addition to a 31-member Cabinet whose composition excludes six of the nine members of the alliance.
The appointments only include members from Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM and People’s Party (PP).
Other appointees are individuals from the private sector, independent members of Parliament (MPs) and the Citizens for Transformation Movement.
The six political parties that are Tonse Alliance partners but have, thus, not been considered in the appointments made so far include Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), Umodzi Party (UP), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), People’s Transformation Party (Petra) and Freedom Party (FP).
PPM leader Mark Katsonga Phiri, who is also legislator for Neno South, said his party’s expectation was that they would move forward together “but it has not materialised.”
Katsonga said whether he (Chakwera) needed the junior partners to push him to where he is today and later “he doesn’t need them, that is his prerogative”.
“Yes, we have been left out but that is what politics is all about. But we thank God we now have a new administration which we all fought for. As to how they want to manage government affairs, that is left in the President’s hands,” he said.
However, Katsonga observed that running government was not Cabinet positions “so let us hope we will be needed at one stage because at this point in time, we are not needed”.
Mafunde leader George Nnesa said issues of any appointment were the President’s honour but as part of the alliance they expect to move together and participate in developing the nation.
“We have not had a meeting as an alliance since the elections, so I cannot comment much until we hold a review meeting for all the partners and agree on the way forward.
“The appointments have just been made, also it is the beginning of a long journey; there are so many things ahead so we would want to give the President time to settle down and at an appropriate time he will call us for a meeting,” he said.
While confirming not being considered, former State vice-president Khumbo Kachali and leader of Freedom Party said: “I can confirm that none from Freedom Party has been considered. However, I think it’s too early to comment… people are the best judges.”
Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo referred Weekend Nation to Chakwera, but his counterpart John Chisi, leader of UP said while people have the right to point out things they feel are not in the right order, it is not possible [for all] to be included in everything.
Chisi said there were several issues in government where they would be needed as such people must not dwell too much on the appointments made to date.
“However, if indeed certain Malawians feel some people with skills have not been considered they have the right to query.
“But the President will explain to the nation why he did what he did and how he expects that thing to be. If people feel he should make changes, I am sure he is a listening President and he will make necessary changes,” said Chisi, who was one of the presidential candidates during the nullified 2019 presidential elections.
But political scientist Ernest Thindwa from Chancellor College noted that it would be a challenge to accommodate every leader or members of Tonse Alliance.
“Again, for me, I don’t really think those other parties added any value in generating decisive votes. So party consideration in this case, certainly, has less weight to base the appointments on, much as symbolically, it was good they joined the alliance to drive its philosophy,” said Thindwa.
MCP spokesperson, the Rev Maurice Munthali said in an interview yesterday that nothing had changed and Malawians must know that members of the alliance are all working together.