Political analysts and UTM Party have differed on the impact of the party leadership’s silence on resignations of some senior members from its fold.
While the analysts feel UTM Party leadership’s silence is weakening the grouping, the party’s secretary general Patricia Kaliati said the party remained strong despite the storm.
The sentiments come hot on the heels of the resignation of the party’s publicity secretary Frank Mwenifumbo on Tuesday.
In an interview yesterday, political analyst Wonderful Mkhutche said the resignations tell a story of a party losing its steam and needs political intelligence and revival to hold it together.
Kaliati: Ideologies of the party will never die
He said: “The top most leadership has made matters worse. Supporters have barely heard from Dr. [Saulos] Chilima. The party was sold to Malawians in the name of Dr. Chilima. Therefore, when he sinks, the party sinks as well.
“Dr. Chilima has to decide his political future in the next few months. Presently, he is lost inside the [Tonse] alliance and the strategic influence of MCP [Malawi Congress Party] as the governing party.”
On the other hand, Mkhutche said Chilima, who is the country’s Vice-President, needs to revamp UTM.
He said: “Let us face it, without Dr. Chilima taking part in the next elections, whether through Tonse Alliance or any other way, the election will be a raw deal for some voters. President Lazarus Chakwera’s leadership has been far from convincing.”
On his part, Blantyre-based analyst Ernest Thindwa also said UTM’s misfortunes emanate from the fact that the party does not command a reliable support base or roots in society.
He said: “The social structures will remain relatively stable which will deny UTM a decisive partisan ethnic or regional constituency which other major parties enjoy and exploit.
“Second, both 50 percent-plus-one for presidential elections and first-past-the-post for legislative elections remain majoritarian which tends to over pronounce the strength of major parties at the expense of smaller parties.”
But Kaliati, who did not seem to bother about those leaving the party, said real supporters remain.
She said: “Those who are UTM are strong. Everyone may decide to leave, but let the party live on. The strength of our democracy depends on the strength of multiparty democracy.
“Let UTM stay, faces may change, but ideologies of the party will never die. Ideas do not die. Those who are UTM are still intact.”