By our reporter
UTM Party presidential candidate Saulos Chilima has said the person he will name as running mate for the May 21 watershed elections will be the Vice President of the country.
Addressing a news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Chilima , who is currently the State vice-president, said he will name the ‘surprise’ running mate in the next few days.
“The person I am going to name as my running mate will become the Vice President of this country after May 21,” said a confident and emphatic Chilima.
Many Malawians thought Chilima had called for the news conference to announce his running mate.
Asked by journalists if his UTM party will go into an electoral alliance with other opposition parties, Chilima said discussions are still under way.
“We are still discussing and in the next 48 hours or so, we will make an announcement,” said Chilima.
“But people are still meeting and we don’t want to violate constitutions of other parties, so discussions are still on-going,” he added.
Chilima, who will run for presidency on a UTM Party ticket, his first attempt to the country’s top job, is expected to present his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) at Comesa Hall in Blantyre on Wednesday next week, 6th February 2019, probably where he will put to rest who is the mystery running mate.
Chilima said he will initiate change of the law to have a Deputy President instead of a Vice President to avoid the bad working relationships that have rocked the President and his vice since the country adopted the multiparty system of government in 1994.
“We should have a law which specifies the duties of a Deputy President not the situation that we have now where the Vice President is at the mercy of the President in terms of what he or she will do despite the two running together and winning the elections as a pair,” said Chilima.
“I was the last Vice President to be treated the way other vice presidents have been treated because after 21 May, the one I am going to name as my running mate will work with me as a Deputy President and there will be no problems,” said Chilima.
Asked what would become of him if he was going to lose the elections, Chilima quipped: “Maybe we should ask those who will lose the elections on what they will be doing, as for me, you should come to Bingu National Stadium for my inauguration on May 23.”
Malawi will hold watershed elections on May 21. The country has held competitive elections since 1993, when the repressive one-party regime of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who ruled for three decades after independence, ended.