Minutes of a closed meeting held by ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politburo in Mzuzu show that the party blames itself for its unpopularity in the northern region, marking the July 20 killings and the party’s stance on quota system as some of the factors that heightened the phenomenon.
Despite emerging victors in the May 20 tripartite elections, the DPP had an unimpressive stint in the northern region which, ironically, was regarded as the ‘home of DPP’ during the first term of late Pres. Bingu wa Mutharika in office.
A flurry of negative developments including the death of 20 people in the northern region during the July 20, 2011 anti-Bingu protests and the quota system – alleged to be DPP’s plan to block northerners from getting maximum access to institutions of higher learning, are believed to have contributed to the party’s erratic state in the north.
At a review meeting on Saturday, attended by all DPP parliamentarians at St John’s Nursing College Main Hall in Mzuzu, the party’s leaders are said to have taken turns to blame themselves for their lost glory.
Much as the party’s regional governor for the north Kenneth Sanga chased reporters from private media houses citing confidentiality, Nyasa Times was able to follow the deliberations from outside the hall because of the public address system that was being used.
According to Genala Mwachipoka, one of the DPP members who spoke at the meeting, the party may completely have no followers or votes in the 2019 general elections should it not reverse its decisions such as the quota system.
“Our party is slowly dying. The main reason is nothing apart from quota system which segregates northerners. If we are not careful we will get zero votes from the northern region in the next elections,” said Mwachipoka.
Most members from the party’s political districts who attended the meet corroborated the sentiments, calling for a complete overhaul on how the party executed some issues of national importance.
Finance minister Goodall Gondwe and national campaign director Jappie Mhango were also in attendance.
Gondwe, however, failed to provide touching responses on the issues raised and accused the former ruling People’s Party (PP) for rejecting the quota system now that they were out of government.
“They are the ones behind such criticisms to frustrate the DPP government,” he said.
While a similar meeting ended in a mess following disagreements between the party’s youth wing in the region and its leadership about a week ago, the Saturday meeting was calm and visibly democratic as most members reportedly expressed their concerns without fear.
The 20 youth cadets were suspended from the party over the matter.
In the 2014 tripartite elections the majority of the DPP parliamentary candidates who were regarded as the party’s pillars in the northern region including Nick Masebo – the party’s vice president for the region – lost their seats miserably, a situation that prompted the Saturday meeting.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :