..UDF, Aford in possible alliance with MCP
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is banking on Eastern Region to enable it win the forthcoming 2025 elections which could see the UDF and its former Leader Atupele Muluzi return to cabinet as early as July this year, senior party officials have charged.
It is not clear to many MCP senior officials who is leading the marriage between MCP and its former rival the UDF, but discussions are said to have been brokered by Former President Bakili Muluzi and President Lazarus Chakwera.
The UDF trounced MCP in 1994, 1999 and 2004 and both lost to DPP in 2009 and 20214 elections. UDF failed again in 2019 but lost on a joint ticket with DPP in 2020.
President Chakwera is facing massive loss of popularity that he is financing both the UDF and Alliance for Democracy led by Enock Chihana to find a base that can propel him to a second term.
“Look at the the two parties, UDF and Aford, same agenda, same pattern. The source of financing is the same, MCP. Aford will work in the North and it is hoped the UDF can bring the East that should have a clear 50 plus One vote should MCP hold the centre,” said one of the closest aides to the parties.
Another official said MCP has been focusing on the East and the deal with Atupele could fasten the grip on the region.
“You will see a pattern, Chiefs will be promoted and soon we should have Enock and Atupele either in Cabinet or sort of working arrangement. We believe if we take East, DPP Will not have a majority in the North,” said an MCP Executive member.
There are various teams working on different streams including one led by Richard Chimwendo Banda who is using his local government position to woo Chiefs to support the MCP including the recent 100 percent pay hike.
The other team is led by Brown Mpinganjira and Ephraim Chibvunde which is focused on Lower Shire and other parts of the Southern Region.
Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma termed as a “bulldozer” is also responsible for almost all regions.
Should Atupele return to Cabinet, it means he has to call for a convention first and reclaim his position he resigned unceremoniously late last year.
“The MCP realises if Chakwera wins again in 2025 he will be doing his last term. So the deal possibly is about Atupele being second Vice President than running mate. But for Cabinet the deal is as good as done,” said a State House source who recounted private meetings between Chakwera and Muluzi.
The coming of Muluzi could complicate MCPs relationship with Joyce Bandas Peoples Party whose Minister Ibrahim Matola also comes from Mangochi.
“PP has been projecting itself as a party with a base in the East and North. If Atupele comes in that position will be shaky. The same with North with Aford. That could change PPs bargaining chip,” said an independent political observer.
If Atupele returns to Cabinet he will join Late Sidik Mia, Uladi Mussa and Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara who have served three different Presidents from different parties in a government office.
Both Enock Chihana and Atupele Muluzi did not respond to our questions.