UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati says her party has embarked on a drive to mobilise support for its leader and the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima ahead of the 2025 presidential vote.
She made the sentiments on Saturday in Lilongwe when UTM Party, a key partner in the governing Tonse Alliance, welcomed 17 new members from the Alliance for Democracy (Aford).
Said Kaliati: “We are quietly mobilising people underground, going door-to-door and these are some of the people that have come out.
“It is God who has told these people to say go and support him [Chilima] and they are saying you are not alone.
“Yesterday [Friday], we did welcome a number of people in the Southern Region, but how we do our work, we don’t pompously announce that we have done this.”
She said UTM Party is upbeat that Chilima would garner more votes in the next elections due to the experience the party has gained.
“As a new party [in 2019], the president [Chilima] secured one million votes and today there are more people coming in it means that the numbers are growing,” said Kaliati.
However, she could not confirm or deny whether the strategy meant UTM Party was seeking to break away from the alliance.
On what was giving her party confidence to go it alone in the presidential election, Kaliati said: “You are going to observe yourself. I am not going to answer your question. You are able to see for yourself what is happening. This is just the beginning.”
Legal scholar Professor Garton Kamchedzera is on record as having said that a court ruling on a judicial review matter involving former president Bakili Muluzi suggested that the President as well as first and second vice-presidents can only serve two consecutive terms.
He said in the case of Chilima, the ball was in his court to seek an interpretation of the decision before the election. He also indicated that the process can be done by way of a presidential referral for interpretation.
Meanwhile, the newcomers that Kaliati welcomed into the UTM’s fold include former Aford director of events Nancy Matupa, former national treasurer Jones Makuya, former national organising secretary Austin Bowoyeke Munthali and ex-director of logistics Ellard Chapotera.
But reacting to the developments, Aford secretary general Elias Wakuda Kamanga said the defectors have exercised their right to freedom of association.