14 March 2019

Malawi: Presidential Running Mates Gear Up for Second Debate - Kazako Says Pageant of Ideas and Image

Photo: Nyasa Times
Opposition leader Joyce Banda and Jerry Jana, who was going to be her running mate.

Malawi presidential running mates in the May 21 polls are set for a face-off in a second public debate organised by private broadcaster Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) at Comesa Hall in Blantyre Thursday night.

Kazako: It is possible to sit on one table and sing the same song in different tunes

The running mates, according to ZBS managing director Gospel Kazako, are expected to discuss the value they will bring to government should their political parties make it.

Kazako said the debate would be interesting and informative as Sidik Mia of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Jerry Jana of People's Party, Frank Mwenifumbo of United Democratic Front (UDF) and Micheal Usi of UTM, would come together to discuss what they have to offer if they assume office after May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Everton Chimulirenji of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who chickned out from the first debate will not take part again in the second leg as his party said they will not participate in any debate relating to the May 21 2019 watershed election.

DPP secretary general Grezeldar Jeffrey wa Jeffrey said the party has reservations with the integrity of those behind the organisation of the same.

The party said it will instead use "other channels" to communicate its development programmes to the nation ahead of the elections.

"The party wishes to encourage continuation of participatory democracy where the media plays a critical role," said DPP secretary general in a statement seen by Nyasa Times.

Kazako has refused to comment on DPP's stance, saying the broadcaster would onlt talk about journalism not about political statement.

He said Zodiak thank God for the grace of ability to be able to do the debates.

"At Zodiak, we have always preached strong faith and belief in the notion of unity in diversity," said Kazako.

According to Kazako in his statement at the first leg of debates which were held March 7 at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe , it is possible to sit on one table and sing the same song in different tunes.

"That, we believe, is what the people of this country love to see," he said.

He said leaders need to demonstrate that while they wont agree on certain things, it is possible to genuinely smile at each other, shake hands and get going with life.

"The unquestionable desire of the people of this country is for improved quality of life. Access to basic needs of life. This is what will help them make meaningful contribution to development.

"Is the person who weaves backets in Salima finding meaning in existing policies? How about curators? Do they find hope for the future in policies in plat at the moment? How do we, as a nation, propose to get us out of this situation? The debate among tobacco growers is one that needs no emphasis. The health sector, the economy, agriculture, land management, the list goes on," said Kazako.

Kazako said Malawians want to know from their presidential running mates their p of bailing the nation " out of its long standing problems."

The candidates had been given the opportunity to reflect to voters on policy issues while helping inform voters with the rare opportunity to compare promises on a level playing field.

Millions are expected to watch the debate on Zodiak television and see the style and substance, both which are important performance indicators in this political theatre.

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