DPP MPs favour Malawi Speaker Chimunthu for presidency

The members of parliament for opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are backing the candidature of Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, to take over the party presidency from acting leader Peter Mutharika.

DPP is expected to hold its first ever national convention scheduled for April 17 through to 19 at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.

Candidates who expressed interest for the party’s presidency are Mutharika and Speaker Chimunthu Banda while the party’s parliamentary leader Dr. George Chaponda will contest for the Treasurer General.

DPP lawmakers who spoke to Nyasa Times said Chimunthu is the best candidate with  leadership skills.

Speaker Chimunthu Banda:  Challenging Peter Mutharika
Speaker Chimunthu Banda: Challenging Peter Mutharika

“We think Chimunthu Banda can push us from where we are now to the next stage, probably taking us back into power. We know that Chimunthu Banda will work with the youths, all structures of our party, the Church and ordinary Malawians,” said a DPP MP Wales Gama in Blantyre who was meeting party delegates to the convention to back the Speaker’s candidacy.

DPP regional governor (North) Nick Masebo, who is also Chitipa North Member of Parliament, said delegates from his region, was going to support a credible candidate.

He however said Chimunthu Banda has leadership qualities that the DPP needs in its current state.

Political analysts say Chimunthu is charismatic, clean, has the ability to interact with all citizens regardless of their political affiliation

But outspoken DPP regional governor (South) Noel Masangwi  – who caused a storm last year when he declared that Malawi was “not ready for a female president” when then Vice-President Joyce Banda was widely seen as positioning herself as the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s successor –  has declared that his region will support Mutharika.

Masangwi said they will support Mutharika because he “has resources and can campaign to the last minute.”

Eastern Region governor, Charles Jika, said the party followers in the region have also decided to support Mutharika’s candidacy.

Meanwhile, Chimunthu Banda is in the southern region to canvass for votes ahead of the convention.

He met DPP convention chair Nicholus Dausi and Masangwi at Mount Soche hotel on Tuesday, where he reportedly expressed his concerns of the lack of democracy in the way the party is handling the contest at the convention.

DPP settled for secret ballot voting system.

The party also agreed to slash down the number of delegates from each constituency from the initial nine to three.

According to Dausi, the district level will have nine delegates while regional level will have 15 delegates.

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