Battle lines drawn for Malawi’s DPP: Mutharika and Chilima face off in battle of realpolitik

Friction between President Peter Mutharika and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members sympathetic to Vice-President Saulos Chilima have started to creep in the ruling party ahead of national convention in June with governance expert saying battle lines have now been drawn between Mutharika and Chilima Movement.

The presidency, President Mutharika with VP Saulos Chilima in succession stand-off

Governance expert Mankhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that there are clear indications that the two factions may not reconcile, and that Malawianx may as well forget the Mutharika-Chilima combination in the next election.

He was comment on developments on Thursday  wgeb Mutharika used the official government podium in Blantyre Rural at the second ground-breaking ceremony for a 19-kilometre (km) stretch of the 62-km Lirangwe-Chingale-Machinga Road to brand the Chilima Movement a bunch of cowards and a stupid grouping.

While the Chilima Movement with DPP national director of women and Mulanje West legislator Patricia Kaliati as the key speaker, addressed a news conference at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe where they branded Mutharika as “a clueless leader” and nominated Chilima as a presidential candidate at the convention set for June at a yet-to-be-advised date.

“Mutharika’s verbose attack on  Chilima movement as well as the movement’s dressing down of Mutharika in a statement  read at a press conference by Honourable Patricia Kaliati clearly shows that the two factions may have constructively agreed to part ways,” Munthali observed.

He said the developments just coming few days after Mutharika and Chilima are reported to have met behind closed doors at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Monday’ can also give hints into the outcome of such a meeting, “ an outcome that may have been negative with each faction standing on its grounds to pursue Presidential aspirations of the party.”

Munthali said Mutharika use of foul-language against his political competitors is unfortunate development.

Mutharika warnec those canvassing for Chilima’s candidacy, saying he will trounce them and trim them to size.

Ena amadandaula kuti akufuna convention, taitanitsa convention akuti akufuna akatenge chiletso ku khothi. Si zautsiru zimenezo? Ali ndi mantha! Akunjenjemera! Abwere ku convention ndipo tikawafinya! Tikawapondaponda! Tikawanyenyanyenya! [They demanded that we call a convention, now they want to get a court order to stop it. They are scared! Let them face me at the convention where I will give them a whitewash],” said Mutharika.

The governance expert said it was “unfortunate and insensitive”on the part of President Mutharika to denigrate the pro-Chilima movement  simply because of exercising their freedom of choice and expression.

He said: “The use of such words like tiwanyenyanyenya, tiwapondaponda despite being used by the President in figurative ways to imply that he would defeat Chilima at the convention in an election- was uncalled for as such words have the potential to incite violence against the supporters of Chilima.

“Already, some pro-Mutharika DPP leaders and supporters recently threatened any pro-Chilima supporter or delegate against attending the convention as they would face reprisals. Now these pro-Mutharika supporters would misinterpret these Mutharika’s emotional words as implying that the President has authorised them to unleash terror at Chilima supporters. All this coupled by DPP bad history of terrorising political opponents, the President may have only created a non-conducive political environment for DPP to hold a convention-  a hostile environment that would prevent pro-Chilima delegates to attend the convention for fear of their lives. As a leader the President must refrain from using such emotive and violence-inciting words especially as we approach 2019 Tripartite elections.”

Munthali said President Mutharika as a leader of the party must strive at all cost to create a conducive environment for a convention by condemning some party regional governers against preaching violence against those in support of Chilima while at the same time uttering words that would build the party.

“In fact, by now the President should have assured total protection and security to all delegates to attend the convention including those that support Chilima,” he said.

Blantyre City East member of Parliament (MP) and former DPP regional governor (South) Noel Masangwi, a member of the Chilima Movement, said by expressing ‘tikunyenyaninyenyani’ sentiments and calling the movement ‘stupid’ Mutharika has demonstrated a lack of tolerance and poor leadership.

But a public policy analyst Vilije Kamudoni Nyirenda told Nyasa Times that Chilima Movement  apart from insulting the Head of State, they attempted to solicit undeserved sympathy from Malawians, portraying themselves as victims of some “imaginary political machinations” by the party following the announcement that DPP national convention has been slated for this June.

”They struggled to paint a picture of a staged DPP national convention where their preferred candidate Chilima would either be barred from contesting for the presidency of the party or that the process would be a sham to rubber stamp President Mutharika,” Nyirenda said.

Former first lady Callista Mutharika—widow of DPP founding president and the incumbent President’s elder brother, Bingu wa Mutharika—sparked the succession debate weeks ago when she said her in-law, 79, should pave the way for the comparatively younger Chilima, 45, widely seen as a hands-on and results-oriented leader as evidenced by the success of the Public Sector Reforms Programme he vibrantly led which has lost steam since it was moved from his office.

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Munthalika
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Munthalika

Instead of insulting others APM should just show us what he has achieved as President of his party and Malawi and people will vote for him again. Chilima should also show us his vision for DPP and for the nation, instead of dwelling on APMs failures. If we vote for you, what’s your plan for the country? Personally I have seen that APM is a dottish and dumb old man devoid of any leadership skills. He belongs to the classroom rehashing theories to undergraduate students. Or rather, he belongs to a care home. Let him go and he should take… Read more »

Mas ter
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Mas ter

People for DPP are for DPP vote ratio will not change becoz of VP faction but almost all in the faction expect losing their seats
If this was so then MCP would never be heard by today so many talks Chewas are still behind it believe the south will do the same since ,1904

Mpunga
Guest
Mpunga

The word tikunyenyaninyenyani is not getting its real translation. It means we will crushcrush you!

HoRror
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HoRror

How many ground breaking semornies are we going to have on this road.. I remember very well kuti amayi anapanga kale ground breaking.. then I was working kwa Chinseu.. Now why not just start the project… Pple of Zomba wakup.. They are just looking for ur votes

Peter
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Peter

DPP and Mutharika ayaluka chaka chino, writing is on the wall. One Chilima is able to handle the whole government indeed CHILIMA IS BIGGER THAN DPP. Viva Chilima

Mulopwana
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Mulopwana

Akweni and other frustrated guys are misleading Chilima for political gains. They have been frustrated because anazolowera kuba ndiye aona APM wathinitsa katulukidwe ka ndalama, aukira mtsogoleri wao. Sipaja tinamva kuti Kweni amalira ku Sanjika kuti she is economically suffering. By the way does she know that it was the same Chilima who did not want her to be in Cabinet because of her foul language. By the way kodi sukulu ku Mulanje ikuyenda bwanji paja mumakanika kuwalipira aphnzitsi anu muli nduna tsono lero ndi kasalar ka u Mp less than 2 million in a month ndiye muyendetsa sukulu yanu… Read more »

Wagea
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Wagea

There is no real battle here if Chilima’s people are the lunatics we saw yesterday.

#DzukaniAmalawi
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#DzukaniAmalawi

Infighting aside bwana president, it might be to your benefit not to contest given your health status. If you win next year, Malawians are going to expect the unthinkable given the promises you have made but which you’ll find difficult to deliver. You’ll have so much pressure from all corners within the party and outside that you won’t even have breathing space and likely they will impeach you. rather enjoy whatever legacy you have built, which is probably commendable for Malawi standards. Nthawi zina whta might be seen to be a wrong move might just save your life later on.… Read more »

Achi
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Achi

Mr president, Why reduce urself to the level of a district governor?
U’ve lost my vote

johnkblack
Guest

Can anybody explain what the difference is for the life of ordinary Malawians like you and me? Who is going to do what? For me it seems that it is all the same: two elephants fighting over our tax money and the donor spoils. And none representing you and me!

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