Paramount chief Ngolongoliwa says he cannot fail to settle political disputes involving politicians from his Lhomwe tribe in fear that he could be contravening the chiefs Act.
In a rare interview to the media, Ngolongoliwa conceded he intervened in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) political squabbles, saying “the son”, Vice-President Saulos Chilima was quarrelling with his “father” President Peter Mutharika.
“If politicians in my tribe are quarrelling, you expect me to stand aside. We the Lhomwes are peaceful, we believe in peaceful settlement of disputes,” said the chief.
Ngolongoliwa, who is one chief close to the President, convened a meeting last week at Sanjija Palace in Blantyre in order to reach out to Mulanje West member of Parliament (MP) Patricia Kaliati who is also DPP national director of women, Blantyre City East MP Noel Masangwi and national director of youth Louis Ngalande who are supporting leadership change in the party.
President Mutharika attended the meeting but Chilima was to present at which ended in stalemate as Ngolongoliwa pleaded with the trio to make a public statement indicating their support for Mutharika, but the trio refused.
Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo and Blantyre City South MP Allan Ngumuya are among DPP functionaries who have openly spoken in support of Chilima’s candidacy.
Mutharika, 79, is facing an unprecedented resistance for an incumbent—eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution—from some DPP members canvassing for the candidacy of Chilima, 45. In the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Mutharika picked Chilima as his running mate from the private sector where he served as Airtel Malawi managing director.
Ngolongoliwa speaking from his Mtunda Wosema headquarters in Thyolo , said he is personally in support of a Mutharika-Chilima pai, arguing that it is a good pair because Chilima knows it was Mutharika who chose and settled for him and likewise, Mutharika knows he made it with support from Chilima.
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 should pave the way for the comparatively youthful and energetic Chilima widely seen as a hands-on and results-oriented leader after he vibrantly led the Public Sector Reforms Programme that has lost steam since it was moved from his domain.
The Lhomwe Paramount Chief disclosed that a week before Callista Mutharika came out in public to urge President Mutharika to step aside and pave the way for Chilima as a presidential candidate in the 2019 polls, he had talks with her.
Callista bashed the governing DPP, claiming there are “beasts of prey” and thieves that surround President Mutharika and she said she was airing her views to protect her in-law.
Ngolongoliwa said he urged the President and his deputy during last year’s memorial service for the late president Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm not to allow people that have surrounded them to divide them.
“I repeatedly said this that they should not allow to be divided, but they must work together to develop Malawi. You always have bad people around and that is why Lucifer, an angel, was chased from heaven.
“This is what I exactly meant. I foresee this coming that some people are not always happy to see a good pair working together and yielding results. Malawi is developing and you can see that for yourself and, obviously, some people are not happy,” the Paramount chief said.
Mutharika has declared he will lead DPP in the elections while Chilima has remained silent on calls for him to vie for the presidency.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :