The ruling People’s Party (PP) has said it is surprised with the conduct of Vice President Khumbo Kachali as the campaign for next month’s tripartite elections gathers momentum.

With many interest groups stepping up preparations for the elections, including President Joyce Banda conducting rallies almost on a daily basis, Kachali has chosen to concentrate on his parliamentary seat campaign

The conduct has not pleased provincial chairperson for the north, Reverend Christopher Ngwira.

“The issue of the vice president is beyond me. However, as provincial chairman, I can confirm that he has not been attending our meetings. I don’t know why but I believe he should be in a better position to tell you. Since the president chose Honourable Gwengwe to be her running mate, his participation in party activities has changed drastically,” he said.

Ngwira, however, said as their leader in the region, Kachali should prove himself that he is capable of leading them.

“He is the party’s vice president and we respect him. He does not come out clearly as a leader. He has to. We need his leadership,” he said.

There were reports during the week that Kachali intends to join the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) but, in an interview with The Daily Times, he dismissed the reports.

The vice president said he is busy with campaign for his parliamentary seat in Mzimba South West constituency.

However, his lack of activity on the presidential campaign has not gone unnoticed.

According to PP sources, the party has strategic teams called presidential campaign teams—in all the country’s four political regions, North, Centre, South and East.

In each case, vice presidents responsible for a particular province and provincial governors are leaders of such teams.

But Kachali, who is vice president responsible for operations, refused to comment on his low profile in the campaign for Banda.

“No comment on that one. I am campaigning for a parliamentary seat. I can’t impose myself on the campaign team,” he told Malawi News.

Ngwira has, however, said presidential campaign teams were set up long before President Banda chose Gwengwe as her running mate and Kachali was active as leader then.

While saying the reason Kachali is giving for little involvement in PP presidential campaign may be plausible, political analyst Mustapha Hussein has said he has to balance his priorities with activities of the party.

“His argument that he must concentrate on his constituency makes sense. However, he is not a small person. He is a heavy-weight in the party. He should also play a role in garnering support for other candidates, including the presidential candidate. He should show that he is part and parcel of the party’s national, regional and all other committees of the party,” he said.

Hussein, however, concurred with Kachali that his conduct is not tantamount to join another party.

“It may not be correct to associate his conduct to movement to another party. We have to take his word,” he said.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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