UTM party is holding its elective convention today in Lilongwe, where 882 delegates are expected to elect office-bearers and ratify the party’s constitution and manifesto.
Convention spokesperson Lekani Loga said in an interview yesterday that delegates have been drawn from all 193 constituencies, 81 political districts and four political regions of the country.
He said: “We will also have 15 members drawn from each region. These delegates have already started arriving in Lilongwe.
“I am not able to comment on how much the conference will cost because we are still working on that. We will be able to say that after the convention.”
Contrary to other political parties’ conventions which took place recently for a number of days, UTM is going to have it only today. Delegates are expected to return home tomorrow.
Commenting on whether that would not compromise the process, Loga said the party planned for the event well and that a day is enough for the exercise.
It is not clear whether Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is the interim UTM leader, will face any challenger for the position of president.
In a recent interview with The Nation, political commentator Humphreys Mvula said the party, which faced registration challenges, will hold the convention only to legitimise its leadership and constitution.
He said: “UTM has a lot of work to do. I do not think that it has enough time to do all the processes required. They will have the convention just to legitimise its leadership and constitution.”
However, Chilima has consistently said during his rallies that anyone willing to contest for any position will be allowed to do so.
Ironically, the interim national chairperson for the party Noel Masangwi, Speaker of National Assembly Richard Msowoya and interim treasurer general Richard Makondi will not vie for any position today.
Chilima, who was President Peter Mutharika’s runningmate in the 2014 Tripartite Elections, ditched the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June this year and later joined UTM which is canvassing for his leadership in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections. n