Political commentators and rights activists have given credit to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president for southern region, Kondwani Nankhumwa for a good start after he addressed his maiden political rally in his new capacity at Bangwe ‘Desert’ Ground in Blantyre on Sunday.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Mulanje Central legislator, had his rally televised on privately-owned Times Television for the first time, promoted the issue-based politics without the use of violence as the country moves towards next year’s elections.
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that Nankhumwa did not dissapoint and seized the opportunity presented to him.
“While he may not have convincingly outlined a clear strategy on how the DPP government was dealing with corruption, the youthful politician was composed and refrained from attacking personalities but addressing issues as they are.
“I think this was quiet refreshing especially considering the background of such rallies as being mere platforms to unleash excessive verbose against opponents. Something other DPP politicians can borrow a leaf. Just going at what happened in Bangwe and recent developments in DPP, love him or hate him Nankhumwa may be a force to recon with in DPP and beyond and you can ignore him at your own peril,” said Munthali.
He added: “Its clear Nankhumwa has a future in DPP -a fact that is further strengthened by his leadership ability to hold the party intact in Parliament as well as his youthful age.”
Human rights lawyer Habiba Osman hailed Nankhumwa for talking tough on violence.
Nankhumwa distanced DPP from the political violence on the eve of United Transformation Movement (UTM) rally in Mangochi last week Sunday where two of the grouping’s vehicles were torched by unknown assailants.
He joined President Peter Mutharika in condemning political violence.
“I believe violence still belongs in the annals of history and must not be allowed to creep back into our modern politics under any circumstances. In the same vein, I would like to warn our members, especially the youths, to stay away from political violence. They must not accept to be used by any politician to engage in political violence,” he said.
Renowned Malawi’s gender activist Faustace Chirwa admired Nankhumwa’s huge sense of humility when he talked highly of his predecessor, former DPP VP for southern region Dr. George Chaponda.
He described Chaponda as a fountain of wisdom with impeccable political research skills that will be handy during his tenure as VP himself and as the party gears for re-election in 2019.
Chaponda attended the meeting in solidarity with Nankhumwa who encouraged members to be united despite the outcome of the DPP national elective conference held on July 1 to July 3, 2018.
Chirwa said despite his young age (40 years), “Nankhumwa depicted himself as a mature politician who is ready to inculcate politics of unity and tolerance in the government party, a stack departure from the usual politics of retribution, castigation and violence that has characterized the country’s terrain over the years.”
In his speech, Nankhumwa told supporters that the DPP is the only party in Malawi that has the people’s interests at heart and that people should not be cowed into believing that other parties and “movements can do any better miracles”.
The youthful Minister said he is now southern region party vice president “for everyone regardless of how people voted at the convention and there is, therefore, no need to nurse any elections hangover from the convention; we must all bury the hatchet and move in unity as one party”.
Nankhumwa discouraged a culture of backbiting, which he said he had have noted is a growing habit in the political party. He said backbiting is an evil that should not be allowed to grow because it is counter productive and retrogressive.
“I have been long enough in politics to know and understand that speaking bad things about fellow members behind their back is bad; it frustrates many people and causes de-motivation. I would therefore like to discourage backbiting in very strong terms because it is evil,” said the minister.
Nankhumwa said as a party, the DPP had made tremendous strides in fulfilling its manifesto pledges since 2014. He said that DPP has remained faithful to its pledges such as the 20 member Cabinet; infrastructure development, the single digit inflation; consistent fuel supply; and fuel price stabilization, among others.
“We have also recorded stellar performances at implementing other programs such as the FISP; the establishment of community technical colleges and the un-bounding of University of Malawi to ensure we have a literate society, which will help in the development of this country.
Other high-level officials that attended the meeting included DPP regional governor for southern region, Charles Mchacha, information minister Nicholas Dausi, home affairs and internal security minister, Cecilia Chazama, deputy minister of defence and DPP national campaign director Evason Chimulilenji, Mayor of Blantyre City, Wild Ndipo and former DPP southern region VP Dr. George Chaponda, among othersFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :