The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president for the South George Chaponda is mobilising party lawmakers to publicly endorse President Peter Mutharika as their torch bearer and fend off the voices calling for which Vice President Saulos Chilima to lead.
Chaponda organised a meeting in Lilongwe where lawmakers were asked to endorse Mutharika as 2019 presidential candidate and not Chilima.
The disgruntled former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development assured the MPs at party headquarters at Old Wenela in Lilongwe on Wednesday last week that if Mutharika is re-elected a proper succession plan will be put in place and hinted he is among the blue eyed boys that may be heir to the throne.
Chaponda is answering three charges which include giving false information to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency.
But told MPs that he is expected to be freed in the matter and will still be their leader in the House in the near future when cleared .
The chief resident magistrate in Zomba is expected to make his determination on May 18.
Chaponda has said he will be the last defender for Mutharika and ensure he will lead DPP in the 2019 polls.
DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey confirmed she attended the meeting but in her capacity as Nkhotakota South Constituency legislator.
“I was invited to the caucus as a DPP MP and I attended,” she said.
The endorsement follows what former first lady Callista Mutharika said recently that Mutharika, 79, would be too old to carry on as he would be 84 at the time of leaving office in 2024 if re-elected next year.
The former first lady argued that it is normal that thinking capacity levels deteriorate as one gets older, and, therefore, favours Vice President Saulos Chilima, 45, to represent DPP in 2019.
The remarks were also supported by DPP national youth director Louis Ngalande, who cautioned Mutharika to tread carefully on representing the party in the 2019 polls, stating he is too old for the job.
Others who are said to be backing Chilima-for-Presidency crusade include lawmakers Bon Kalindo, Allan Ngumuya, Patricia Kaliati and other party officials.
But Finance and Economic Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe said running the President’s office and government affairs is serious business that requires the old who have experience and not “babies” who are novices on State matters.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :