Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Thursday completely left out a speech by its controversial deputy director of youth Hophmally Makande on Sunday dragging head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, into local politics , part of which he tells the Pontiff to step down because he is old.
The repeat of the rally on Zodiak TV and radio completely removed the voice by Makande, a strong ally and confidant of veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira.
The remarks caused both a political and religious storm as people wondered how and why Vatican was dragged into local politics.
During a maiden rally Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa addressed in his capacity as DPP vice-president (Southern Region), Makande attacked critics who argue that President Peter Mutharika, 79, should retire due to old age and pave the way for younger leaders. He said if Mutharika is old and not fit to lead, the same should apply to the Pope who is 82.
All other speeches made during the rally in Bangwe, Blantyre were aired during the repeat rally program except for Makande.
The DPP has apologised for the “retrogressive, inappropriate and disrespectful” remarks and Makande has also said sorry and withdrew the statement.
Nankhumwa, the newly elected vice president of the DPP has lined up a number of rallies in the south where the party is facing stiff competition from the newly launched United Transformation Movement.
The DPP vice president is now using the private media, Times and Zodiak to air his rallies live, a departure from the DPP conservatives who use state run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation which is not popular .