ANALYSTS, CHIEFS TERM UTM AS DPP TEAM B
Many commentators and custodians of tradition have criticized UTM party for failing to realize the importance of balancing their main executive committee. This follows the party’s hastily arranged elective convention in Lilongwe which saw almost 50 percent of the total seats going in unopposed. These included the 3 powerful posts of the President, Secretary General and Director of Publicity and communication that were shared by Saulos Chilima, Patricia Kaliati and Chidanti Malunga respectively.
In a strong worded letter, the Association for Young Politicians in the northern region has accused the party for failing to level the playing field. Out of the 30 positions that were up for grabs, the north has only managed to get two deputy posts. Former PP members of parliament, Hon Olipa Chiluba Muyaba and Hon Maquenda Chunga, are the only faces from the region. The former is deputy treasurer general while the later is deputy campaign director. Both are from Mzimba district.
This has not pleased the influential paramount chief of Karonga and Chitipa, Mtemi wa Mitemi Kyungu who has lambasted the newest party for being careless and insensitive.
Outspoken immediate former vice president Rt Hon Khumbo Kachali has no kind words for the party. He has seriously questioned Chilima’s leadership acumen. The former VP says UTM party leader has made ‘school boy blunders’ by not letting the convention elect on its own the vice president.
“It smacks of dictatorship for the party president, who himself refused any competition, to monopolize all powers of appointing his own deputy in the party. A party vice president is different from a runningmate. The latter can come from any other party. Mr Chilima has completely displayed incapability and incapacity to lead in a democratic space”. He angrily writes on his facebook page.
As if that is not enough, a Whatsapp chat has confirmed that the central region is greatly dismayed by UTM selective approach in its entirety. Bwalo la Achewa Whatsapp chat expresses shock and disbelief that only one chewa from the populous central region has managed a mere deputy women director position, Hon Annie Nyadani Makuta. The members on the influential tribal page, monitored by a Nyasatimes reporter, are bitter and dissapointed with what they call DPP team B. One contributor who cannot be named for fear of reprisals has called on the central region not to rally behind a group of crooks and power hungry individuals who have nothing to offer but ‘self aggrandizement’.
A highly charged social commentator, Gerard Kampanikiza, has ruled out any chances of UTM doing well without any of its executive members from Lilongwe, a district with highest 22 constituencies.
The eastern region political districts of Ntcheu, Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi and Zomba have only produced Hon Chilima, Hon Lucius Banda, Hon Shanil Muluzi and Hon Kazembe. This means over 20 posts have been concentrated in the southern region where DPP presidential candidate Peter Mutharika and MCP presidential runningmate Sidik Mia comes from. Mutharika commands a large following in the Sapitwa region of Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe while Mia, termed southern region political giant, enjoys massive support in shire valley in districts of Nsanje, Chikwakwa and Blantyre city. He also commands a large following in the Muslim dominated eastern region.
Sheik Ibrahim Kauai from Mangochi has tweeted that Moslems in the country have very little reasons to trust UTM.
Another disgruntled prominent member of the society is Chief Sitola from Machinga who laments lack of fair representation in the UTM. The chief suspects the party of corruption. He believes the delegates acted on bribes and merely went for those who rushed out more.
Political Scientist, Hussein, has prophesied doom for UTM. He labels it a party of fortune seekers and ungrateful souls lacking seriousness to unite the polarized Malawian society.
Many commentators on social media continue to label the party as DPP team B championed by Patricia Kaliati as its Chief Executive. Notable founding members who have not vied for any post include, Callista Mutharika, Richard Msowoya, Louis Ngalande, Noel Masangwi, Richard Makondi, George Saonda among others.
The chickening out of these seasoned campaigners speaks volumes of how much people have lost trust in the hastily assembled party whose funding remains questionable despite running a very expensive program since its launch a few months ago.
So far all the major parties have now held their elective conventions. But only MCP has announced it’s ticket of Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Sidik Mia as president and runningmate.
Observers say MCP has an edge over the rest since the electorate have an ample time in scrutinizing the pair.
Meanwhile, Chilima is expected to have a headache in naming both his number two in the party as well as his official runningmate.