United Transformation Movement (UTM) has announced that it will hold its convention on November 9 at a venue to be communicated later.
UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati made the announcement yesterday when she briefed journalists in Lilongwe at the end of a caucus the movement organised to take stock of progress made since its inception on May 21 this year as well as plan for the future.
Kaliati, who did not give further details on the planned convention, also dismissed assertions by the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that the movement is copying the DPP manifesto, arguing that the opposite is true about such claims.
The outspoken Mulanje West legislator cited the recent announcement by government stopping head teachers from collecting fees from students, arguing that was the brainchild of UTM leader Saulos Chilima, who is also the country’s Vice-President.
She said: “It is laughable that today the DPP is busy telling headteachers not to receive fees from learners just because the UTM leader some weeks ago articulated his dreams of ensuring that no child fails to finish school due lack of fees.”
Kaliati was responding to remarks by DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, that UTM has been stealing some of DPP’s development proposals and selling them to the voters as its own.
But in a telephone interview, Dausi maintained his stand and further claimed that the movement is hoodwinking Malawians into believing that it is formulating new plans.
He said: “If the Veep were a a politician of respect, after realising that he had his own plans, he could have resigned from government. The fact that he still clings to be VP of the State means he continues to use his position to collect information from government.”
Commenting on yesterday’s caucus, Kaliati observed that during its four-month existence, UTM has established structures in every district nationwide.
She said the movement currently has 205 shadow members of Parliament, adding that soon it will be registered as a political party.