Party (MCP) gurus declared President Lazarus Chakwera as the party’s torchbearer during the 2025 general elections.
While one political analyst said there is nothing wrong with individuals indicating their preferred candidates, another said the declarations are premature and threatens the durability of the ruling Tonse Alliance.
The President greets some of the patrons at the dinner
The move comes against a background of the existing nine political-party Tonse Alliance which powered Chakwera into the presidency during the court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election held on June 23 2020 under a 50 percent-plus-one electoral system.
On Friday, Lilongwe Msinja North legislator Bintony Kutsaira told a rally Chakwera addressed at Mitundu Primary School Ground in Lilongwe that “it will only be you [Chakwera] in 2025 and nobody else.”
The following day, MCP first deputy secretary general Catherine Gotani Hara stated at MCP’s Tambala Night Dinner and Dance at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe that the party had endorsed Chakwera.
She said: “Those with stomach ailments will continue with their illnesses because we [MCP] are here to stay. We do not doubt ourselves because the Bible says whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.
Hara (R): That is what we have bound here
“So, we are binding that in 2025 our president is Chakwera. That is what we have bound here and nobody shall untie it because that is what we have bound.
“As we take that route, we will encounter several challenges, but let us always know that God is leading us, no matter what. Nobody is going to take it away from us.”
Hara and Kutsaira were echoing their party’s second vice-president Harry Mkandawire who has insisted that the party has decided to have Chakwera as their presidential candidate in 2025.
Ironically, as Hara, who is also Speaker of the National Assembly, and Kutsaira were busy drumming up support for his candidature, the President seemed not to be paying any attention.
The sentiments also come against a background of a veil of secrecy on the agreement between Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima whose UTM Party is regarded as one of the key alliance partners.
On Monday, Hara did not respond to our inquiry on whether the party has endorsed Chakwera’s candidature or that she made the remarks in an individual capacity.
MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali asked for a written inquiry which he did not respond to by press time.
But political commentator Humphrey Mvula said it was surprising that such sentiments were emanating from the party’s senior and seasoned politicians.
He said Hara, Mkandawire and Kutsaira should have been the last to utter “such insensitive comments” because they are aware that party candidates come through elective processes in form of conventions.
Mvula said: “As senior politicians, they need to be careful and strategic in raising or promoting such sentiments because in real politics before you announce how you are moving forward there must be an element of speed and secrecy before you can state you are ready to unleash your candidate.”
He said the MCP was not prepared with 50 percent-plus-one electoral system “because listening to voices on the ground, there are several pockets of people unhappy with the current state of affairs”.
Mvula said: “President Chakwera should focus on running this country until much later possibly in 2024 when people will be cajoling for his leadership
“I would ask the President to resist temptations from his party’s opportunistic members who would want to get closer to him by claiming he is particularly the best candidate.”
He also urged Chakwera to protect the Tonse Alliance by condemning the pronouncements of his party members, including political machinations.
On his part, Political Science Association secretary general Makhumbo Munthali said he did not see “any good reason to fault Hara for expressing her views on internal matters of her party, especially that the said anointed candidate is constitutionally not prohibited from contesting”.
He said: “Had it been she was endorsing the candidate for a third term, I would be concerned. Those views were made in her own capacity as a member of MCP not as a Speaker. Besides, the context and remarks have nothing to do with Parliament business.”
Munthali said the only problem was that the politicians had rushed starting the 2025 campaign at the expense of focusing on development.
While most of the Tonse Alliance partners are yet to declare their 2025 political direction, the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) is on record as having declared it will field its own presidential candidate in 2025.
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