Former National Assembly Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda saying it will be too early to talk about the possibility of President Peter Mutharika picking him as running mate in the 2019 election.
Chimunthu, a generally respected figure, has been seen in public recently attending Mutharika’s events.
“Viewed as a clean and sober, he hails from Central Region. Many think his appearance a signal that he may become running mate for Mutharika in the next elections, with the aim of countering the MCP’s Reverend Lazarus Chakwera, who is currently dominate in the Central Region,” Africa Confidential reports on the matter.
Chimunthu took a break from frontline politics since he was defeated by President Mutharika at the first ever Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) convention in April 2013.
But the former Speaker has downplayed assertions that he is being eyed for the running mate position.
“There is nothing of that nature,” said Chimunthu Banda in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper on Monday March 27, 2017.
“But again which party can begin talking about running mate issue two years before the elections? You know the local politics, nowhere have issues of running mate been discussed and resolved two years before polling,” he added.
Chimunthu Banda said people should not read too much and make conspiracy theories in his public appearance now, saying he has been doing so since 2015.
During the DPP indaba in 2013 Chimunthu Banda was attacked by a Blue Revolution, a four-page publication distributed to all delegates at the start of the convention, blamed the former Speaker for “indecisiveness”, alleging that he was nowhere near the party at the time people were deserting it.
“He hid in the sanctuary of the neutrality of the Speaker Office yet his predecessors, honourables Louis Chimango, Sam Mpasu and the late Rodwell Munyenyembe used to identify themselves with their parties outside Parliament…,” the publication said.
DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila said he could not comment on the issue of running mate, saying it was a prerogative of a presidential candidate to choose a preferred deputy.
Kasaila said the re-appearing of Chimunthu Banda indicates that DPP remains popular and still attracting political gurus.