With just 31 days for presidential candidates to submit their nomination forms to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), only United Democratic Front (UDF) has come out in the open to announce that its presidential running mate is ready and will be unveiled soon.
Presidential candidates have up to February 10 to nominate running mates failing which, they will be considered ineligible for the 2014 Tripartite Elections. Parties have also been under pressure from various corners of society to come up with running mates in time to enable the parties to sell them to the public.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga confirmed that the party has identified its presidential running mate.
He said with the elections drawing closer, the party had to speed up the process of identifying the running mate to ensure that people know him or her. He said the party also wanted to have a running mate before launching its manifesto.
However, Ndanga refused to disclose the name of the person, saying party president Atupele Muluzi will soon disclose the name of the running mate to party supporters.
“There were four people for consideration and the party president Atupele Muluzi opted for the running mate in question. The president will disclose the name of the person any time after meeting the national executive on the day to announce,” said Ndanga.
MCP president Dr Lazarus Chakwera said consultations on the running mate were at an advanced stage and that the party will identify the running mate soon.
“We don’t have the name at the moment to announce. I cannot say it is so or so for now because it will be a lie,” said Chakwera.
People’s Party (PP) secretary general Paul Maulidi said the party is in the dark on the running mate, adding that only President Joyce Banda can announce her running mate.
DPP president Peter Mutharika could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.
MEC chief elections officer Willie Kalonga said eligibility of the presidential candidates for the elections will depend on the running mates. He said names of running mates will have to be submitted together with those of presidential candidates.
“The law requires that there should be running mates on the nomination forms up to ballot papers. We will start getting the nomination forms on February 10 to February 14,” said Kalonga.