By Lenzo Mkandawire
Barely four months after its birth, the Saulos Chilima Movement is hurtling down to its tragic collapse courtesy of an internal crisis composed of five factors, investigations have established.
A pervasive and growing public opinion now is that United Transformation Movement (UTM) has been no more than noise of frustrated and failed politicians and has no relevance in Malawi’s politics.Our investigations have established that the group is being riveted by a chain of factors leading to its failure to gain public and electoral advantage and facing imminent death.
Chilima’s close allies in the group are expressing uncertainty about the future of the group as it struggles to get registered as a political party.
The Registrar of Political Parties dismissed its application two weeks ago on the grounds that it lied on its name to avoid being rejected since there is already a registered party with a similar name, UTP (United Transformation Party), which is led by businessman Newton Kambala. The matter is in court now and insiders are uncertain the case will be concluded in good time for the Chilima Movement to get ready and compete in the elections next year.
Worse still, some of the leaders of the group feel they have demonstrated a high level of political incompetence in the handling of the registration issue as the group now faces the bleak prospect of failing to participate in the elections.
Ring leaders of the movement are also worried with Chilima’s drunkenness. Chilima has been addressing some rallies while drunk to an exent of failing to walk properly and making himself subject of public laughter and scorn. One of the leaders confided in us that they have tried to take up this issue with Chilima as it is destroying the public image of the group. But he has been uncooperative.
“He tells us that he is a shy person and also that he is too stressed; so he drinks and takes cociane to deal with his shyness and to remove stress,” said one well-placed insider (name withheld).
His refusal to change is leaving those close to him increasingly unhappy knowing the amount of work they will need to put in for the group to gain reputation.
CHILIMA’S MENTAL STATE
Strategists and close allies are also beginning to fear for Chilima’s sanity .They say problems rocking the movement and its failure to gain a foothold in the country have driven Chilima into despair such that …..
CHILIMA’S LEADERSHIP FAILURES
Apart from his drunkenness and unstable state of mind, Chilima has failed to prove his leadership qualities as the group is bedevilled by infighting which he is failing to manage. There is concern that he is failing to provide a sense of direction for the group.
DIVISIONS IN THE CAMP
The Chilima Movement is further being dragged down by divisions in its top echelons. The first dimension of the divisions is around the trio of Newton Kambala, Richard Msowoya and Michael Usi – all of whom feel they have good claims to be second in command.
Usi is staking his claim on account that he would appeal to the youth and woo votes from the South where he is more popular — as a comedian and not a politician. Usi comes from Mulanje district.
Kambala’s bargaining chip is that he has a party, United Transformation Party. Regardless that it does not have people, it has some structures which would bolster UTM’s registration chances with the Registrar of Political Parties if UTM opts to mutate to UTP.
As for Richard Msowoya, his sales pitch is that he will use his position as Speaker of Parliament and former MCP deputy president to bring MCP MPs into the UTM fold.
We can report that Msowoya did manage to woo some of those MPs but as of now the MPs have expressed uncertainity of their future in UTM.
They have so far met Chilima twice – and are expected to meet him again this week. But they report that Chilima has not given them any sense of direction as to their future in the movement.
As a result, some of the MPs are opting to pull out and work either as independents or work with other political parties.
The second dimension of the divisions arise from the uncertainty over the group’s registration. Some in UTM have proposed that they should change the name. However, Chilima is adamant on name change, arguing that they have invested a lot in the UTM brand.
However, political analysts and legal minds have questioned Chilima’s wisdom of investing heavily in a group that is not registered and does not exist according to the laws of the land.
UTM emerged on the stage with evidence of a strong financial position. Its branding, vehicles and group paraphenalia have kept people wondering what is the source of its money.
But the truth is that UTM is struggling with finances as the few financiers who thought UTM held any prospects are withdrawing their support upon realizing that UTM is a failed project and is destined for a crash.
In addition, some of the leaders are becoming unmotivated to promote the group as Chilima is not sharing with them the money that he is getting from some financiers.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post