My quick impression of the Mzuzu #UTM launch. It lacked excitement but scored big on inclusion. Chitumbuka, chichewa & English were all used. Significantly, more Tumbuka was used therefore validating it as a language worth of national discourse. Chilima’s effort to deliver his speech in Tumbuka despite being a non-Tumbuka himself should be recognized & will probably earn him votes in the Tumbuka speaking region.
Those in the region who tuned in via radio also heard him speak in their language & the impact of this should not be underestimated. The rally also had a significant number of women speakers (Kaliati, Loveness, Chinthu Phiri, Olivia). Chilima did not say anything much that he hasn’t said at the Masintha & Njamba rallies so for those who don’t understand Tumbuka, you didn’t miss much.
Again, Chilima outlined many things that UTM intends to do but mostly refrained from saying how they are going to do it. He did not give details on how they plan to sort out the controversial quota system and simply said we should watch because they have the solutions. At one point he contradicted himself saying that we are looking for solutions on quota and this makes one wonder if they really have the solutions ready or if quota is just being peddled for political reasons. He spoke of mindset change, work ethic, job creation, incentivizing civil servants, agriculture extension workers and teachers, ending corruption, protecting whistleblowers, uplifting education standards.
Was very dodgy on how UTM intends to finance its programs only giving an example that government spends about K9 billion on office rentals & this money could be used to build 2 or 3 schools. He didn’t say though where they would then house the employees who occupy this office space. Humphreys Mvula has commentented that Chilima is good at name-dropping programs & plans with very little detail given on the how. I agree with Humphreys Mvula. The rally was also a missed opportunity.
A narrative that UTM is DPP team B is gaining momentum, the trustworthiness of some of the UTM members has been queried & UTM’s continued silence on the matter will not make it go away. UTM needs to address this head on. As an aside, Facebook live viewers did not exceed 2,000. At 13:50 there were 1.5K viewers and this increased to 1.8K viewers at 15:38. At 15:50 viewers dropped to 1.6K and this number remained constant throughout Chilima’s speech.