Alliance to unseat DPP?

There is an electoral alliance comprising sixparties—People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), New Labour Party (NLP), Assemblyfor Democracy and Development (ADD), Republican Party (RP), Malawi DemocraticParty (MDP) and Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde)—under thebanner Tikonze People’s Movement (TPM). It seeks to field one presidentialcandidate in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections. Our reporter BRENDA TWEAengages interim leader of the alliance, former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha:

Chilumpha: We need unity

Q

: Why this alliance? What does it promise to for Malawians? How is it different from other parties?

A

: The problem has something to do with the composition of leadership. When you have one political party that is running, what happens is that the leader of that party is the one who calls the shots. Now, here we have six political parties, and what we have agreed in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) is that these leaders will have to work together as a team although there will be a chairperson for the party. But these political leaders will for all purposes be there and will form the highest policy-making body for the movement and they will work as a team and as equals, which has never happened in the history of Malawi where you have a team leading the country like that. We have always entrusted the governance of the country to one person who is elected as president and it is his or her say that matters.

Q

: What is the structure of this new movement?

A

: The structure of this movement is that the leaders of the political

parties that are coming together will form the highest policy-making body. It will not just be one person although one of them will be the chairperson. But in terms of making policies, they will work together as a team according to the MoU. And that changes everything. Instead of leaving things to one person to dictate and everybody else to follow, it is that team that will have to debate issues and on the basis of whatever they agree then they can implement the policies. That is the change that we are bringing in and we hope that is going to be the safeguard against the individualistic approach that has characterised Malawi’s governance since 1964.

Q

: How do you plan on choosing the torchbearer that everyone in the movement will support?

A

: There will be people from the party, running for positions both at parliamentary and ward levels. Already, as I am talking, there is an arrangement in place to identify candidates in those wards and constituencies where we intend to field candidates. The idea is to let people at that level identify who is going to be their candidate as opposed to parties taking a top-down approach. We will have a convention very shortly; we should be announcing the date soon. The purpose of that is to ensure that all the leadership and membership come together and elect a presidential candidate and his vice. We do not follow the system that is being used in Malawi currently where you give the president the power to choose a running mate. Our delegates at the convention will choose both. We are using a different system to the one many parties follow in the country.This is the change which we think might solve some of the problems we are facing so far. So, we are calling on Malawians to support this kind of change.

Q

: Any final remarks you may have?

A

: The biggest difference about this movement is that instead of having one man leadership at the top, the leaders of the six political parties that form the alliance will form the highest policy making body for this movement. That will ensure that decisions are made after proper discussions and consultations, rather than imposed by one person simply because he is the president of the republic. These are the changes that Malawians really need to support. And these political parties have given up the political ambitions of their leadership. They are not seeking government for their own political ambitions; they have accepted that the interest of Malawians must come first and their personal ambitions should come second. This is again something that we appeal Malawians should support. A lot of the other leaders who were in this alliance have refused to work together because they believe that their leaders have the right to rule this country and therefore they will not play second fiddle. Malawi at this point needs unity for change to happen and we are setting the example, that that change must start with leaders giving up their ambitions in order to advance the interests of Malawians.

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