MALAWI: More parties to join MCP, UDF alliance

Tembo to lead Malawi grand opposition coalition

About seven opposition parties are set to be part of the Grand Coalition on MCP and UDF which political analysts have said will present a heavy challenge to President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Officals of the two parties have indicated that others parties which
will support the electoral block includes NRP of Gwanda Chakuamba, Code
of Ralph Kasambara, MPP of Uladi Mussa and MDP of Kamlepo Kalua.

However, reports indicate also that Aford officials are also consulting
party membership on possibility of joining the Grand Coalition.

The parties will back presidential candidature of John Tembo and his
running mate Brown Mpinganjira and that former president Bakili
Muluzi's stake in the whole equation will be unveiled during a mass
rally organised for Saturday in Blantyre.

MCP spokesman Ishmael Chafukila assured that the alliance agreement
will be unveiled and asked "MCP and UDF supporters to exercise

Mzuzu University political analyst, Noel Mbowela told VOA that parties
in opposition alliance have got a large following and also in the most
populous areas of the country that is the Southern region and the
Central region which poses threat to President Mutharika.

"Looking at these facts, what we are saying is that it is no prediction
at this moment in time who is going to be the outright winner of the
election," he said.

Mbowela said the pendulum of political opinion is changing in favour of
the opposition since alliance was announced that that survey which
favoured Mutharika to win by 60 percent are no longer in tune.

"The figures that people were quoting could make sense or were valid
before the coalition that we are talking about. I think about a month
or so ago, the president was indeed enjoying popular support. But soon
after one of the aspirants who is the former president was stopped from
contesting by the Malawi Electoral Commission and now looking at this
coalition, I think those statistics have been greatly compromised. I
think no one can now safely say with a lot of confidence that the
president is going to enjoy that kind of support in terms of winning
the elections of 60 percent," Mbowela pointed out.

He said the opposition coalition could undermine the expected strong performance of the ruling party.

"The coalition that we are talking about is quite massive and no one
knows really what the outcome of the election would be like. You would
agree with me that these two opposition parties have great support in
many areas and coming together significantly improves their chances in
the general election," he said.

Mbowela said the coalition risks implosion if it wins the elections since the two parties are ideologically different.

"It is very interesting and maybe we can even say that the future is
not as bright as it looks now. The sharing of power indeed is one of
the aspects that would also I think bring this coalition to a very
unpredictable end. Why? Because you see the two parties that we are
talking about have got two different policies. The other one is
conservative and the other I liberal and also despite the differences
in terms of political ideologies, the two parties have been enemies so
to speak. And they have been operating like cats and dogs since the
dawn of democratic dispensation. So, the sharing of power in this case
is something that is going to reopen the kind of fighting and suspicion
that has been there between the two parties," Mbowela noted .

Nyasa Times (Additional reporting VOA)

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