Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has let the cat out of the bag and declared his party’s first vice-president Mohammad Sidik Mia as his running mate in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections presidential race.
Chakwera’s declaration at a rally in Monkey Bay, Mangochi yesterday, an unprecedented development in a country where presidential candidates keep their choices of running mates close to their chest until the day of presenting nomination papers usually around February, comes at a time MCP confirmed holding informal talks with other opposition political parties on a possible electoral alliance.
The MCP president, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, did not dismiss the possibility of his party getting into an electoral alliance, saying: “In any electoral alliance, you negotiate. But I want everyone to know that as Chakwera, what happened last time, I do not want to disregard the people’s view in our party.
“That is why I chose the present Speaker of Parliament [Richard Msowoya] as my running mate in 2014. This is the same reason and I should not be seen to be inconsistent. I am acting consistently with what I believe. When MCP people say this one should be your deputy, that one must be my running mate.”
Reacting to the news, Mia, a wealthy businessperson who joined MCP in July 2017, thanked Chakwera for the nomination and assured him of an “easy entrance” to State House next year.
He said: “It’s great news for me to be entrusted with this huge responsibility to partner Honourable Chakwera. There is no better news to make me delighted than this.
“Let me assure him that I will put all my energy to ensure that come May 21 2019, the MCP gets into government and Honourable Chakwera goes to the State House.”
Earlier, Chakwera condemned the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its leadership for incidences where his party’s flags were pulled down and burnt to ashes around Mtakataka Primary School area, venue of the MCP rally in Monkey Bay.
He asked President Peter Mutharika to discipline his party’s youths for the conduct.
On Saturday, some youths suspected to be from DPP stirred tension in areas surrounding the venue of the rally by threatening the people not to attend the meeting for their own safety.
Chakwera said: “I am telling the President [Mutharika] to be the father of Malawians and not of the DPP followers. We do not want civil war in this country. We are all Malawians, so tell your supporters to stop it.”
He said if anyone wants to arrest or kill MCP followers they should do that to him.
Said Chakwera: “I am ready to be arrested or killed… I am saying this to the President from the depth of my heart.”
During the rally, he said if elected into government next year, he will turn Mangochi into a city and construct several other cities along Lake Malawi to promote tourism.
The rally started with a whistle-stop tour that saw the MCP leader stopping at Malembo and Cape Maclear where he also introduced MCP aspiring legislators for Mangochi West Beatrice Lwanda Ngaunje and Gerald Kazembe for Mangochi Monkey Bay.
Reacting to MCP’s accusations, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said Chakwera was not sincere with his blame of the governing party’s youth.He said: “The MCP president must be sincere. It is not true that DPP youths were involved in the act. You know even when the rains are not coming they blame the DPP.”Dausi is also Minister of Homeland Security.