Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya yesterday declared his interest to partner Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera as running mate in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Msowoya, who is also MCP first vice-president and Karonga Nyungwe member of Parliament (MP), made his declaration at a rally at Chimkusa ground in Mzimba District barely one week after Lower Shire political giant Mohammed Sidik Mia, whom some quarters expect will partner Chakwera, was welcomed into the country’s oldest political party.
During the Mzimba rally, which was also attended by embattled secretary general Gustave Kaliwo and fired spokesperson Jessie Kabwila, Msowoya urged the electorate to support Chakwera and himself as they have qualities that could liberate the country from its numerous problems.
Declared Msowoya: “Malawi Congress Party has Dr Chakwera, a person I know can run the country well. MCP has a vice-president Richard Msowoya and you know how I work.
“So, please give us a chance, help me, so that Chakwera and I get into government and run it in a way that people will feel good about their country.
“It is not simple for people who just meet in a house to run government because they take it like a club, and because it is a club, they just share government money. MCP does not belong to one person.”
Without mentioning names, Msowoya also spoke strongly on the need for people joining MCP to follow procedures.
He said: “MCP has procedures on how you join it. Nobody says people should not join the party. Nobody, because we need people. What we are saying is follow procedures. If you join without following procedures, it makes those already in the party to start asking about what is going on. People start asking about how those people have joined the party.”
In an interview later after the rally, Msowoya said he still hoped of retaining his position as first vice-president and Chakwera’s running mate.
He said: “I have to dream and if people will elect me at the convention I will be very happy. If you are a member of a party, you still hope that you will be elected on a position that you want and even the presidency. The last convention, who knew that I will be vice -president? People didn’t even know me, so, it’s up to people to decide during the convention?
“On 2019, I will tell you that everybody dreams big. Everybody wants good things. So, if I am given that chance as it was in 2014, I will be a very happy person. It will mean I have done a good job since the last election.”
Msowoya’s remarks followed what several others had said. The talk of Msowoya being Chakwera’s running mate started with councillor for the area (Perekezi Ward) Andre Tembo who said people in the Northern Region still want Msowoya to partner Chakwera in 2019.
“Don’t give us money, but we will work day and night to ensure that you still partner Chakwera in 2019,” said Gustave Kaliwo amid ululating and the likes of Kabwila showering him with banknotes.
Taking her turn, Kabwila, who is Salima North West MP, dismissed assertions that she was blocking other people from joining MCP, saying: “I even want President Peter Mutharika and [Mulanje West MP] Patricia Kaliati to join us.”
However, she stressed that she does not want people to just join MCP and occupy positions that are already filled by others.
Said Kabwila: “In MCP, we go to a convention and Richard Msowoya was elected during a convention. So, for that I stand here and say, I do politics of constitutionalism and MCP says if you join us, well and good, but the positions you want to occupy are already filled. You will destroy the party, we want to get into government. The pair of Chakwera and Msowoya was not bought from a store, it was formed at a convention. That must be respected.”
On the other hand, Kaliwo said he missed the Ngabu, Chikwawa rally where Chakwera welcomed Mia into the MCP fold because he was not aware of the meeting.
He said: “I don’t go to rallies where I have not been invited. Actually, it is my office that has to communicate about rallies, so, speaking without an apology, if you didn’t see me anywhere, it means my office was not aware and I would not have gone to those meetings.”
During the Mzimba rally, Msowoya and Kaliwo also welcomed Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire into the party. Mkandawire was previously a People’s Party (PP) member. n