Malawi Speaker Chimunthu says DPP requires new image

Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda, who faces Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interim leader Peter Mutharika during the party’s national convention Thursday in Blantyre, says the party requires a presidential candidate that can get votes from beyond party followers.

Chimunthu Banda also observes that the party requires a new image to get back into government during next year’s general elections.

“It is obvious that our only way to get back into government is to rebrand the party. The party requires a new image to provide renewed confidence to the electorate. And I am that new face,” Chimunthu Banda told the Daily Times.

Chimunthu Banda further said he has a proven record of working with people from all regions which technically qualify him to be the party’s presidential candidate.

Chimunthu Banda; DPP presidential aspirant

Chimunthu Banda; DPP presidential aspirant

“The party requires a presidential candidate that can get votes from beyond party followers. I have a proven record of working with people from the North, Central, Eastern and Southern regions of our country.

“As you know in every election, there are neutral or undecided voters who have the capacity to swing the results one way or the other. And I have no doubt that such voters would give me their votes which would take DPP into government,” he claims.

Chimunthu Banda also claims that it has become apparent that “my support cuts across regional and tribal lines.”

“Of course I must admit that certain leaders in the regional committees may not be on my side, but what is pleasing is that on the ground the situation is totally different. In fact I can comfortably state that given a level playing and a field devoid of intimidation and threats to delegates, the East and South are mine,” he challenges.

Meanwhile, there are at least 80 candidates who will contest for top positions in the party, mostly in the National Governing Council (NGC).

Former Presidential spokesperson of late President Bingu wa Mutharika, Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba is expected to run against parliamentarian Steven Kamwendo for the position of the vice-president for the centre.

Zomba Central MP Yunus Muss will tussle with Ernest Malenga, Lonnie Chijere Chirwa for the Eastern Region vice-presidency.

Current vice president Dr Jean Kalirani is vying for the position of Secretary General and faces challenge from Ted Kalebe, Binto Kutsaira and Dr Allan Chiyembekeza.

While Noel Masangwi, Dr George Chaponda and Henry Mussa will tussle for the position of Treasurer General with Francis Kasaila challenging Nicolas Dausi for the position of Publicity Secretary.

Comedian Bon Kalindo, who is vying for the position of Deputy Publicity Secretary, faces challenge from Laurine Mukunkha and Zeliya Chakale.

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