4 February 2019

Malawi: Joyce Banda's Son Roy Kachale 'Running-Mate' Disagreement Butchers UTM-PP Alliance

Former governing People's Party (PP) has said it has pulled out of an electoral alliance with the UTM Paerty ahead of the May 21 tripartite elections just days after the same was announced citing a breach by the latter on "a number of issues" including that of running-mate.

In a statement issued Monday, and signed by PP's national publicist Ackson Kalaile Banda, PP says it has made the decision because UTM has failed to comply with the terms of the agreement and "the spirit of solidarity" that emerged between the two parties.

PP, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) and the Tikonze Alliance--a grouping of a number of minority rights--entered the electoral alliance with UTM last Thursday saying it was the only way they would unseat the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

On Sunday, former President Joyce Banda and PP's founding leader told BBC that she was not into the alliance to beg for positions saying at sixty-eight she had done enough for the country.

In the statement, PP said they have been in discussions with the UTM for five months and that it was during the discussions that Banda nominated the UTM president as torchbearer for the group.

"It was agreed at the joint discussions that the UTM president would nominate the running mate in consultation with the president of PP band that the running mate would be from PP.

"However, the People's Party notes with regret that UTM has up until today been playing hide and seek on the matter," reads the statement in part.

According to the statement, Banda informed the house "of the last minute stalemate" on the issue at a regional meeting held Sunday.

"This is consistent with an earlier decision of NEC to give Dr. Joyce Banda mandate to negotiate an electoral alliance with UTM or any other party sharing similar ideologies," reads the statement.

Added the statement: "In giving this mandate, the members maintained the position that Dr Joyce Banda should be the torchbearer in such an alliance considering her vast experience which includes being State President, State Vice President, Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament as well as Community Development Activist.

"However, in spite of her achievements she was willing, as a selfless and servant leader to forgo the position of a torchbearer in the interest of a national alliance that would bring genuine transformation to the people of Malawi.

"Having viewed the situation and since it was the party that gave Dr Joyce Banda the mandate to negotiate, the party has decided that the latest development is unacceptable. The party therefore feels betrayed and has decided to exit the coalition."

Meanwhile, Nyasa Times understands that the bone of contention in the matter is Banda's wish that her son, Roy Kachale, should be named running-mate--a thing the UTM membership shot down.

Commenting on the matter, lawyer Allan Ntata, who once served as former president Bingu wa Mutharika's legal counsel, wrote on Facebook: " JB [Joyce Banda] must tomorrow name her son as her runningmate, if he really is running mate material, right?"

Political commentator Andrew Mpesi has since warned parties on rushing in announcing coalitions before important agreements are made.

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