This is the political grouping just being launched just ten months before Malawi’s general elections in 2019 which has come with the bang particularly in cities.
See in 1994, the year we ushered in multiparty democracy in Malawi, Muluzi, (the winner) had 1,404,75447.15 (lets round it up to 1.5 million votes) and Kamuzu had 996,35333.44 (lets round it up to 1 million votes). Now look; this was after the pastoral letter.
After the Roman Catholic bishops had successfully tarnished the image of Kamuzu and Malawi Congress Party (MCP). After Muluzi and Chihana and all the pressure groups had painted MCP and Kamuzu as evil. Yet he managed to come second with almost a million votes. What does that mean?
The people who voted for Kamuzu were party diehards, people who loved MCP to the bone, people who would never change their allegiance despite the political terrain.
In short, in 1994, (which was the toughest year for MCP) the MCP still had about a million unwavering voters.
In 1999 Muluzi had 2,442,68552.34, (2.5 million votes) Gwanda Chakuamba had 2,106,79045.21 (2.1 million votes)
In 2004 Bingu had 1,195,586, (1.2 million votes) John Tembo had 937,965 (lets round it up to 1 million votes) Gwanda had 836,118 (Eight hundred thousand votes).
Now you know that in 2004, MCP had two camps. That of Tembo, representing the MCP and that of Gwanda in the Mgwirizano coalition. But even in this scenario, you can see that MCP had its loyalists intact, about a million votes.
And you can easily tell and even speculate that were it not for the division in the party, Gwanda’s votes and Tembo’s votes, would have been one and the same and that their votes would have surpassed that of Bingu.
In other words, their division, in turn, divided the votes. Still MCP, maintained the number of its diehards.
In 2009 Bingu had 2,963,820 and John Tembo had 1,365,672. Remember that this was the time when DPP was at its helm because of Bingu’s development agenda, which had seen him constructing roads in Ntchisi, Mchinji and other areas considered strongholds of MCP. Yet, at this crucial time in history, had over a million votes.
In 2014 Peter had 1,904,399 and Lazarus had 1,455,880.
MCP has always come second. MCP has always maintained its loyalist. You may ask why? Here is the answer. MCP has been in existence longer than any party in Malawi. It has roots. Roots which are based on 1. Culture, 2. Party structures. 3. Leadership. 4. Religion. The same could be said about Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) by the way.
From our general election mathematics, we can be assured that MCP has maintained the number of say a million voters from when we started voting. It has stood the test of time and has now gained its grounds.
Each time we vote, the winner does not go far above 2 million votes.
Now look. DPP is still a force to reckon. It will not be wrong to assume that they will get more than eight hundred thousand votes in 2019.
The former Malawi leader Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) is still a force to reckon, and is UDF.
Question is, where will UTM get the votes? Without structures and an institution to lean on?
What UTM will do is to divide the DPP votes. The scenario will be much the same like the Gwanda and John Tembo scenario in 2004. This gives MCP an opportunity to make the best use of its unwavering supporters, which are over a million. Plus those who are generally disgruntled with DPP and those associated with it.
What UTM will also do is to vindicate Chakwera and MCP who was the first party president, in a sense, to talk without fear about corruption, nepotism, and the economical oppression of the masses.
This is not to say that Chilima will not have votes. He will. But based on our voting trends, it will be difficult for him to surpass both MCP and DPP.
He comes to weaken DPP and to validate the people fear and disgust with the economic oppression which has partly been engineered by the past rulers, and more so by the current government.
Where will Chilima get the votes from? it’s a question that has been bothering me.