In an unprecedented move, ex-Vice President Cassim Chilumpha introduced little known Zione Akuziwona Matumba as his running-mate at Comesa Hall in Blantyre on Thursday.
Chilumpha arrived at the event 10 minutes late of his scheduled time with a handful of supporters accompanying him.
Most of the people were unsure and anxiously waiting to know who his running mate would be as he was accompanied by two women.
It was when he introduced Matumba, a rural and community development officer with a Diploma in Community Development, as his running mate that the suspense was cleared.
The former VP explained that the choice of Matumba from Balaka, who also contested as a member of parliament for Mangochi Central in 2014, was made to promote gender equality.
He further noted that being a youthful person, she will ably promote their welfare and ensure they play their rightful role in the economic governance of the country.
A former Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) employee, Matumba is passionate about the welfare of rural communities, particularly the elderly and disadvantaged.
The Tikonze People’s Movement president promised a better Malawi for all, with a focus on women empowerment as they form the country’s majority.
He spoke on their zeal and commitment to ending corruption in the public service once elected.
The former law scholar explained that having served in government before, he has practical experience of the problems people face, and appealed to Malawians to give them chance to make a difference.
He acknowledged to have been part of the coalition talks with UTM, Tikonze, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) and Peoples Party (PP) which he explained is an indication that change can only come if opposition parties work together.
Chilumpha confessed that he later realised that aspiration could not be realised because although four parties were involved, they were only there as junior partners contrary to their thinking that they were equals.
“But it turned out from that meeting that that was not going to be the case and we believed that was not the way to go forward because as partners we needed to do everything together with the full understanding of what was going on, but there was no transparency as far as we were concerned."
He stated that UTM had no intention of letting the other coalition parties know certain clauses and wanted to keep secrets until the agreement was signed.
“Now being a lawyer myself and somebody whom Malawians have elevated to the position of vice president, there is no way I was going to sign a document whose contents I don’t know,” he said matter of factly.
Chilumpha pointed out that he distanced himself from the coalition after realising that there were not going to play any meaningful role.
He said they have been vindicated as both the UTM torch-bearer and his vice have all come from UTM.
“Now how can that be a coalition? It simply meant that we were going to be joining UTM. If we had wanted, we should have joined UTM at the very beginning," said the former VP.