Some ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials have been conducting meetings in the party’s stronghold, the Lhomwe belt to garner support for Vice-President Saulos Chilima to be allowed to contest for presidency at the party convention.
National director of logistics Dr Ben Chidyaonga said they support the calls for Chilima to lead the DPP in 2019 elections because he feels the Veep can move the nation out of poverty.
He was speaking to people who they engaged in Mulanje South West and Limbuli constituencies.
Chidyaonga said people in both constituencies are of the view that a DPP elective convention, held in transparent manner, without brandishing of pangas , would help address leadership challenges the party is grappling with.
DPP regional organising secretary for the South Henry Matemba said the grassroots are embracing the wind of change of leadership, saying party leadership should not live in denial but “they need to reflect.”
He said: “We cane to hear them out and also clarify that we want a convention that is free for all. No candidate should be imposed on us.”
Mulanje South Constituency governess Odetta Jamali said the grassroots want Chilima to replace Mutharika and that if that is not ideal for the President, “let there be a convention that is inclusive. Chilima and everybody else who want to contest for the presidency should not be blocked.”
Directorof women for DPP in Mulanje Limbuli Constituency , Elifa Mthaliwa, said they are in support to have Chilima as DPP torchbearer.
DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey said in an interview she was not aware of the meetings.
While Chilima has not commented on the issue, Mutharika has since declared he will seek re-election.
Former first lady Callista Mutharika sparked the revolution when she said Mutharika, currently 79 years old, would be too old to carry on as he would be 84 at time of leaving office in 2024 if re-elected next year.
Political analyst George Phiri from the University of Livingstionia has warned that continued bickering in the DPP may end up killing the party.
Mzuzu-based analyst Emily Mkamanga warned that failure to open up the system could be a recipe for chaos.
“If they will not allow people to compete for the presidency, that will be the end of DPP. There will be a lot of noise, chaos, and some may even get injunctions stopping the whole process. Let the party open up, and people should compete.
“Mutharika himself must stand up and be man enough to face anyone who wants the presidency,” she said.
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 :