DPP fired Kutsaira for ‘double standards’

By Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times

A secretly recorded conversation between Professor Peter Mutharika and his special assistant, Ben Phiri has revealed why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) fired its secretary general, Bintony Kutsaira during its National Governing Council (NGC) meeting on Sunday at the New State House.

They had the conversation at his (Mutharika’s) official office in Lilongwe

“He was playing double standards; that’s why he had to go,” Professor Mutharika is heard in a recorded chat that Nyasa Timeshas obtained.

Kutsaira: Fired as secretary general

Mutharika, who was “unanimously endorsed as DPP presidential candidate for the 2014 general elections, suggests in recorded conversation that Kutsaira either wants to run for the presidents “or wants to be runningmate”, accusing him of supporting Chimunthu Banda “who is also interested in the presidency”.

He calls Kutsaira a “smuggler like (Noel) Masangwi”, who is DPP regional governor for the South and runs Elvis Freight, recently embroidered in allegations of duty evasion.

Professor Mutharika says Kutsaira was using his position as secretary general to “harass MRA officials,” without elaboration.

The heir apparent to his elder brother Bingu wa Mutharika whose tenure of office comes to an end in 2014, also suspects Ken Kandodo , the finance minister to campaigning for  either the presidency or to be running mate.

“But he is on our side,” says the younger Mutharika, adding that Chimunthu Banda would not succeed because “he is not a Chewa but a Tonga” who Malawians cannot entrust with the leadership of the country.

The conversation, which mainly centres on what strategy to employ to deal with questions about his endorsement, lasts for about 20 minutes, with Phiri suggesting that the law professor should go flat out campaigning to which Mutharika agrees.

“When they ask me about my endorsement by the DPP, I will say yes I am happy that they have endorsed me but we will still conduct a national convention where I will outline my policies. But it’s now open, Atupele (Muluzi) has started campaigning; Joyce Banda has started campaigning, we can not lag behind,” Professor Mutharika says.

The DPP NGC on Sunday elevated former finance minister Goodall Gondwe as first vice president of the party. He is a possible running mate to Mutharika in 2014.

Labour Minister Yunus Mussa was appointed second vice president which Dowa central legislator, Dr. Jean Kalirani was appointed third vice president. Wakuda Kamanga replaced Kutsaira.

Ken Kandodo and Chimunthu were not offered any positions but remain ordinary members.

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