United Transformation Movement (UTM) national chairperson Noel Masangwi yesterday brushed off reports that the movement was shaken by threats of violence ahead of its Eastern Region launch tomorrow in Mangochi.
Reports on Thursday suggested that UTM executive member Patricia Kaliati was involved in a brawl, at Mangochi Boma, with some unknown people who allegedly broke her vehicle.
But Masangwi dispelled the reports that the launch in Mangochi was in doubt as another party had also booked the same venue—St Augustine III Primary School ground.
He said: “Preparations for the launch in the Eastern Region are going on very well. The reports that I have are that there were a few misunderstandings with some people, not on the venue for the main rally, but for mobilisation meetings.
“Yes, I heard Honourable Kaliati’s vehicle was smashed, but I am yet to get the facts because I am not on the ground. But the venue that we booked is fully ours and there should be no problem because we followed all the channels by getting clearances from the District Commissioner and Police.”
In an interview yesterday, Kaliati also dispelled rumours that she was involved in a brawl or that her car was smashed, saying all that she has observed is that people in Mangochi need is to be empowered because there is what she described as “too much poverty in the district”.
“The community colleges government has established to empower the youth are not working,” she said.
Headteacher for St Augustine III Primary School, a Mr. Chitani, in a telephone interview yesterday, confirmed that UTM had exclusive rights for the venue on Sunday.
“No-one else has booked the venue apart from UTM. Agreements were already made by owners of the school, police and the district commissioner [DC], so, as far as we are concerned, we do not know of anything to the contrary,” he said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, in a telephone interview yesterday, denied her party’s involvement and plans to counter UTM rallies.
“I do not know of any situation in Mangochi. The only activity that I am aware about is a rally that we are holding in Zomba on Saturday. But we have not planned any rallies in Mangochi, let alone on Sunday. Regional governors have not reported that to me,” she said.
United Democratic Front (UDF) publicity secretary Ken Ndanga said his party was going to conduct a big rally at Area 25 in Lilongwe.
Meanwhile, UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga has laughed off President Peter Mutharika’s skeptical remarks about the movement’s promise to create one million jobs in a year, saying they are upbeat about their ambitious pledge.
Speaking during a whistle–stop rally in Nkhotakota on Thursday, Mutharika dismissed the promise by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also interim UTM president as unrealistic.
Mutharika argued that it is impossible to create one million jobs within 12 months
But Malunga has maintained that the promise will be fulfilled and urged all the doubting Thomases to be patient and watch the movement transform lives of people in the country once voted into power.
“The rate of employment in advanced countries like the United States of America (USA), is much less than what is being proposed. The need for infrastructure development is higher in Malawi than in the USA; therefore, job creation is more in such countries than America,” he said.
In an earlier interview, economist Henry Kachaje indicated that job creation should be one of the deciding factors for the potential leaders wishing to take Malawi out of abject poverty and set it on the sustainable social–economic path.
According to Kachaje, creating one million jobs in one year will be a tall order, though not impossible. n