United Democratic Front (UDF) Regional Governor for the Centre, Denocius Magombo, has announced that he and 100 other members of the party, including some district governors, have dumped the party and joined the Chilima Movement.
The list also includes other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members in the Southern region.
The development comes as members of the movement continue to drum up support for Vice-President, Saulos Chilima, ahead of next year’s elections through organising campaign rallies across the country.
During the welcoming ceremony of the defectors in Lilongwe, Magombo said, besides believing in Chilima’s ideologies, the members are also unhappy with UDF’s working relationship with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
According to Magombo, the defectors are just some of the members who have lost trust in the leadership of UDF president, Atupele Muluzi.
“We have decided to leave the party not only because UDF is working with DPP but also the direction the party has taken. We think Chilima has good ideologies as demonstrated during his term as the country’s Vice-President [VP],” he said.
The movement’s National Secretary, Patricia Kaliati, said the development is a clear indication of people’s desire for change.
“People are excited with our movement as they look forward to change. Chilima is going to bail them out of the challenges that are hindering their prosperity.
“Chilima’s leadership will ensure that Malawi changes for the better by, among other things, fighting the rampant corruption that has been there for years,” Kaliati said.
But UDF spokesperson, Ken Ndanga, said the defectors had already been dismissed from the party.
“Those people were dismissed from the party more than two years ago for creating parallel structures and the matter has been in the public domain. All they have done now is just to use the name of UDF so that the public should view them as being relevant in politics,” Ndanga said.
According to Ndanga, the UDF regional committee in the Centre under Regional Governor Martin Matabwa is intact.
There have been divisions in the UDF of late and it is believed that the group which has joined Chilima Movement was behind the party’s Veep, Igbar Omar.
The group has been asking for a convention, with musician and Balaka North parliamentarian Lucius Banda as their preferred candidate.