State President Lazarus Chakwera was on Monday, August 17 2020 in a virtue meeting of the Southern African Development Community ( SADC) member states, State Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima on the other hand, was in Blantyre meeting relevant stakeholders on championing of public sector reforms. And, somewhere in the country, in one of the roads sounded a siren, one of the honourable signals that a very important person of state is diligently passing by, and he was none other than Minister of Transport and Public Works, Muhammed Sidick Mia.
Was he in an ambulance, probably being rushed to the hospital for an emergency? No! Sidick Mia was on an official trip in his capacity as the Minister and the question of the pomp, flair and of course, the sirens being accorded to a mere minister is what has now reignited the fire in an ancient grudge of old foes who got united to defeat a common enemy.
The Tonse Alliance administration is made up of nine political groupings but main ones are: the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), an oldest party in the country and United Transformation Movement (UTM), the latest on the scene and one whose members believe so much in transformative administration and management of public resources that is largely inspired by the demonstration of the same by its zealously determined leader Saulos Chilima. On the other hand, MCP despite being the oldest party in the land has oflate showed signs of a renewed party which has had the atrocities it inflicted upon the Malawians during its three decade rule still haunting them until Lazarus Chakwera bombed onto the scene and took over the reigns.
However, the parties had different ambitions going into the nullified 2019 Elections, they both contested on individual tickets where, according to the madando-infested results, Chakwera and Chilima came out second and third respectively. The unison at the court, where they all petitioned against the results, had played a significant role that saw the two parties coming up together to defeat their common enemy in the face of 50+1, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
It is obvious however, to understand that this alliance was not made in heaven, as many would have touted it. It was at the least, the equivalent to a marriage of conviniece that was aimed at nothing but dislodging their biggest enemy. The developments that followed after the annulment of the May 2019 elections said one thing about the then expected alliance, trust and ambitions coupled with the internal resistance from both parties derailed the announcement of the alliance and whatever deal was blockered, many believe that there is a ticking bomb in Tonse alliance.
Soon after their victory, on July 8 2020, President Chakwera made public appointments of both politicians and technocrats into various ministerial portfolios and the backlash that came along with it was ominous. The trash talk, the anger, and the disappointment pointed to the fact that the alliance was built on the sand and soon, it would be washed away. It is not a secret that UTM supporters feel they are being treated as a second class in the alliance, they whin at every announced appointments and it is safe to say, they have never felt at home.
Prior to the election, there was glorification of two gentlemen who stood as running mates in the nullified elections for the respective main alliance parties; Sidick Mia and Micheal Usi. They were touted as men who put aside there personal ambitions and helped in advancing a collective effort of the ensuring the 26-year rule of DPP and United Democratic Front (UDF) was brought to a seemingly overdue ending. They were the heroes of the alliance as was then being proclaimed by the supporters from both parties.
Now, it looks like there is a warfare that has been declared by the UTM supporters on Mia, who they think is been accorded an excessive honour starting from two weeks ago when it trended on social networks the amount of vehicles Mia had on his official ministerial duty. Almost everyday, there is gossip making rounds regarding how the MCP Vice President is perceived to have remained the most powerful personality behind the presidency of Chakwera and with the president failing to commit whether he is going to be a one term president or not a week ago on Zodiak’s Tiudzeni Zoona program, the cracks in Tonse alliance are fast widening and it is doubtful if it is going to survive up to 2025.
One political commentator Lyson Sibande, in a thinly veiled reference to the infighting in the Tonse Alliance alluded to the 1964 Cabinet Crisis as something that would literally repeat itself. Sibande continued by saying that “the young leaders of National African Congress (NAC) did not really like or trust Dr Banda and his leadership style from the word go.
“But they were able to tolerate him because the Federalists were the bigger enemy. They did not want their distrust of Dr Banda to affect their fight against federalism. But when the federation was defeated, the young leaders were now ready to face Dr. Banda.
“Sometimes allied enemies tolerate each other just to defeat their common enemy. After that, they don’t hesitate to draw swords against each other.” Sibande Concluded.
It now remains to be seen how Tonse Alliance top leadership will react to these developments or the train will surely break before even reaching the destination.