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Editorial: Putting Party Politics Above National Unity – The Troubling Behavior of the UTM Faction

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Verah Kamtukule exhibiting rebellious conduct, undermining State event in pursuit of partisan agenda

 

The recent developments surrounding the Independence Day celebrations in Malawi have exposed a notorious and selfish inclination of the UTM whose own political posture in the absence of its fallen leader, Saulos Chilima, is yet to be tested.

The decision by a faction of the UTM party sponsored by Ministers Verah Kamtukule and Agnes Nyalonje to boycott the national event called for by President Lazarus Chakwera and instead organize a parallel event in Chikangawa is a troubling display of party politics taking precedence over national unity.

At a time when the nation should be coming together to commemorate its independence while praying for the late Vice President whose official mourning period of 21 days ended barely 4 days ago, the UTM faction has chosen to pursue a divisive agenda that undermines the President’s call for a unifying national prayer gathering.

The involvement of two government ministers, Verah Kamtukule and Agnes Nyalonje, in bankrolling this parallel event further exacerbates the concern, as it suggests a blatant disregard for the proper execution of their official duties.

A deep indicator of a flourishing selfish spirit in the UTM is the apparent disintegration of the UTM’s Central Executive Committee into two opposing factions. The fact that one faction is advocating for the appointment of Onjezani Kenani, who was never a supporter of the late Saulos Chilima’s vision for the party, raises questions about the party’s coherence and commitment to its founding principles.

Moreover, the reported refusal of the UTM faction to accept the constitutional designation of Michael Usi as the interim President of the party and his appointment as State Vice President further compounds the crisis within the party.

This internal strife and the subsequent decision to organize a parallel event are not only detrimental to the party’s unity but also undermine the nation’s collective effort to celebrate its independence. Worse still, the actions of the UTM faction, supported by the two ministers, reflect a disturbing trend of prioritizing party interests over national interests.

This behavior is not only counterproductive but also sets a dangerous precedent for future political conduct of the party, assuming it will survive to stand the test of time. Political elders have said many times without number across jurisdictions that it is crucial that political parties and their members recognize their responsibility to serve the greater good of the nation, rather than engaging in divisive tactics that threaten national unity.

As the nation prepares to commemorate its independence, it is essential that all political actors, regardless of their party affiliation, come together in a spirit of unity and patriotism. The President’s call for national prayers should be respected and embraced, as it represents a genuine effort to bring the country together and foster a sense of shared purpose.

The UTM faction’s decision to boycott the national celebrations and organize a parallel event is a disservice to the people of Malawi. It is a clear indication that some within the political establishment are more concerned with securing their own partisan interests than upholding the democratic principles that underpin the nation’s independence.

Moving forward, it is crucial that the UTM party addresses this internal crisis and reaffirms its commitment to the national interest. The nation deserves leaders who will put the well-being of all Malawians above their own political ambitions. Only then can the country truly celebrate its independence with the unity and pride it deserves.

©Shire Times

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