Some members of UTM Party have asked the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima to quit the nine-party governing Tonse Alliance purportedly because their party is getting a raw deal.
The officials made the pronouncements yesterday during a rally UTM vice-president Michael Usi addressed at Nyambadwe Primary School ground in Ndirande Township, Blantyre.
The officials cited disrespect by supporters of other Tonse Alliance partners towards Chilima, who is UTM Party president, as well as governance challenges.
The speakers who made the calls included Nyambadwe Ward councillor and Blantyre City Deputy Mayor Funny Baraba, UTM Party presidential campaign chairperson Felix Njawala and director of security Louis Ngalande.
Ngalande said: “There is so much disrespect for our party president by some supporters of other alliance members. However, as a party we decide not to fight back because that is not who we are.”
On his part, Njawala said youths affiliated to UTM Party were being sidelined in government initiatives such as loans being disbursed under the National Economic Empowerment Fund (Neef).
In their speeches, the officials claimed that UTM Party, whose president partnered with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera as his running mate in the court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election held on June 23 2020, contributed greatly to the Tonse Alliance victory.
In an interview after the rally, Usi, who is also Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, said the officials making the pronouncements were justified in their own right as Malawians facing numerous challenges.
He said: “They [officials] deserve it because they are not happy with the suffering in this country. People are going through very big problems, so obviously you would not expect them to be happy. So, I can’t blame them.”
On the future of the alliance amid such sentiments, Usi said everything is intact and that people should not be worried.
And in his address at the rally, he claimed that the government was being sabotaged by people within the system bent on making the current administration fail.
Usi said those sabotaging the government should be fired or the government will fail in its development agenda.
While further claiming that such deliberate frustrations are happening at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), he said such individuals must be replaced with those that have the goodwill of Malawians.
But Usi said as a government, they take responsibility for challenges Malawians are facing and do not shift the blame to any individuals.
In her speech, UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati said the party remains a game changer as it continues to grow since it was formed, currently with 12 members of Parliament (MPs) from four in 2019.
She said: “Let those who would like to join the party come forward and those who wish to contest in various constituencies and wards do so. As a party, we will do research and see how best to move forward.”
Kaliati, who is also Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, also hit back at critics whom she claimed have been wishing doom for Chilima, saying they should mind their own business.
The rally was the party’s first to be addressed by a high-ranking official since the June 23 2020 elections.
Our efforts to speak to MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali and secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka last evening proved futile as they both could not be reached for comment.
Tonse Alliance spokesperson Kamuzu Chibambo could also not be reached for comment.