Friday, July 12, 2024

UTM Faction Funded by Two Ministers Boycotts National Independence Event, Organizes Parallel Event in Chikangawa


In a concerning turn of events, a faction within the UTM party has decided to boycott the national Independence Day event which take the form of national prayers as declared by President Lazarus Chakwera.

The faction which is being spearheaded by former Blantyre Parliamentarian Felix Njawala, Khwesi Msusa (a close aid to the late Vice President Saulosi Chilima) and UTM’s youth director, Penjani Kalua alia Fredokiss, has instead organize a parallel event in Chikangawa, Mzimba said to be in commemoration of the late UTM leader perished in a plane crash in Chikangawa.

Sources from the UTM have confided in Shire Times that the parallel event, which will be a candle lighting event at Chikangawa, is form of disobedience to the UTM interim leader, Michael Usi, and also a statement of disapproval of his appointment as the late Chilima’s replacement as State Vice President.

Joseph Masina, a seasoned political commentator has suggested to Shire Times that eventually, “this move, which is scheduled to take place on the same day the 6th July independence commemoration event is taking place, also serves to be a deliberate attempt to undermine the President’s plans for a national prayer gathering at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) on the same day”.

According to sources within UTM, the ministers of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Verah Kamtukule, and Minister of Labour, Agnes Nyalonje, are bankrolling this parallel event. Both ministers are members of the UTM party and were appointed by President Chakwera.

The Kamtukule/Njalonje faction within UTM has reportedly not accepted the appointment of Michael Usi as the Vice President following the death of Saulos Chilima, the party’s founder and leader.

The sources further revealed that several other opposition stakeholders are collaborating with the two ministers to fund the Chikangawa event, which is set to feature candle-lighting rituals effectively staying away from the national prayers announced by the President.

Interestingly, the Central Executive Committee of UTM has reportedly disintegrated into two factions, with one aligning with the party’s interim leader, Michael Usi, and the other advocating for the recruitment of Onjezani Kenani to assume leadership. On the other hand, Penjani Kalua is also positioning for leadership of the party and is not in full support to poach Kenani. However, it is noteworthy that Kenani was never a supporter of the late Saulos Chilima and his vision for the party.

The move by the UTM faction to organize a parallel event has been met with widespread condemnation, with chiefs in Mzimba reportedly declining the invitation to grace the Chikangawa event. The decision to shun the national celebrations in favor of a party-centric event is seen as a blatant disregard for national unity and the President’s call for collective commemoration of Malawi’s independence which will also feature prayers for the fallen Vice President.


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