There is growing discontent among United Democratic Front (UDF) top officials on whether the party should continue with its working alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Peter Mutharika.
The two parties have been in a silent working coalition—both inside and outside Parliament—since Mutharika drafted into his Cabinet UDF president Atupele Muluzi as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.
However, some UDF gurus feel cheated with the alliance and have reportedly been holding mini-meetings this week to discuss the future of the coalition.
The thorny issue is Mutharika’s recent appointments of board members for 25 statutory corporations in which none of the appointees is from the UDF.
“It does not make sense that out of about 240 individuals the President [Mutharika] has appointed into parastatals, none from the UDF has made it. To make matters worse, the President has appointed three opposition politicians into these boards completely leaving out UDF members. Is this alliance helping us or it is there just to benefit one person?” a senior UDF member who refused to be named complained yesterday.
The three opposition politicians included are Helen Singh of United Independence Party (UIP) who has been appointed a board member of Blantyre Water Board (BWB); George Nnensa of Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde) and People’s Transformation Party’s (Petra) Kamuzu Chirambo who are in the National Commission of Science and Technology board.
In an interview yesterday, UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga said much as it was not automatic for Mutharika to appoint a UDF member into the boards because of their working relationship, his party’s members were justified to question the essence of the alliance.
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila, who confirmed being in a working relationship with the UDF, said as a party their understanding, is that appointments are not based on political lines.
However, political analyst Joseph Chunga said UDF members have no issue to raise on appointments unless specific terms of their working relationship with DPP are made public.