4 February 2019

Malawi: Joyce Banda Says Chilima to Lead Malawi Opposition Alliance - 'I'm 68 Years, Time for Youth Leadership'

Photo: Nyasa Times
Joyce Banda (right) says at 68 years she cannot be at presidential ballot in favour of energetic Saulos Chilima at 45 (left)

Leaders of the opposition UTM-PP-Aford-Tikonze alliance have been meeting at the weekend to further the discourse on a joint presidential candidate for the upcoming polls on May 21 2019 and former president Joyce Banda has disclosed that Malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima will be their torchbearer.

The opposition alliance does not include the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which came second to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2014 elections.

Chilima has fallen out with President Peter Mutharika, and has teamed up with Banda and two other smaller parties under Tikonze Dziko Movement ahead of the May 21 vote.

Speaking on BBC, Banda, 68m said she had withdrawn from the presidential race to pave way for Chilima, 45 to lead.

She said considering her age and the role she played in Malawi, she would settle for Chilima to be president, and that she would not even be his running mate.

"The vice president of this country who is also UTM president Saulos Chilima, will lead this alliance," Banda told BBC.

"Do you know, we as Africans, are mature enough and can accept to allow other people to lead for the common good.

"I am 68 [years old] and I have done my part for my country for 35 years. I have been running for the development agenda; I have been a Cabinet minister vice president and president of the country," said Banda.

Banda touted Chilima as a right candidate for presidency.

"I have looked around and said this person [Chilima] has got more energy that what I have," she said.

Banda said there is power in unity and that the alliance will be a sure win for the opposition block.

"In this country and even in Kenya, we have seen the Orange Coalition, the Rainbow Coalition and it is normal during this time, when you have similar ideologies and similar agenda, you can form a coalition.

"For me, who leads the coalition does not matter," said Banda.

The alliance said it would reveal its presidential candidate on Monday, adding that "there are grounds for a united front among Malawians discontented with the sad state of affairs in this country."

The a torchbearer, most likely Chilima, who will pick his running mate and present nominations forms on Wednesday.

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