The country’s immediate-past president Peter Mutharika has acknowledged that he probably isn’t the best person to lead the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) into the next election but has vowed to stay on and ensure a smooth succession as well as ‘do everything he could’ to steer his party back to power.
Mutharika has since not yet opened for the party to bid for the top job and denied having sacked secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey but conceded he was absolutely furious with her remarks.
Jeffrey had voiced out that Mutharika needed to be replaced through a possible early convention, having played his part.
Following the remarks, Jeffrey was told not to attend a national governing council (NGC) meeting at Mutharika’s sprawling private residence in Mangochi on Thursday where the issue was clarified that she was not expelled but will face disciplinary hearing.
According to party officials, Mulanje South West Member of Parliament Dr George Chaponda will head the disciplinary committee that will hear Jeffrey’s issue.
“But she remains a secretary general of DPP,” said the official who attended the closed-door meeting which lasted six hours.
Mutharika also denied appointing DPP national organising secretary and Thyolo South West legislator Chimwemwe Chipungu as acting secretary general.
But the Mangochi meeting did not tackle the issue of convention, saying it should be held “at an appropriate time.”
Succession has been a main topic of conversation within the DPP two months after losing the court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election on June 23.
Party officials including DPP regional governor for the North Christopher Mzomera Ngwira have been discussing how to replace Mutharika to start rebuilding the party after its loss.
It is reported that ambitious candidates have started to sound out colleagues and ready themselves to move quickly should the occasion call for Mutharika to step down.
It’s still not clear exactly when the leadership contest will commence. Mutharika —who rose to the top of the party largely through the influence of his deceased brother and DPP founding president Bingu wa Mutharika— has suggested he will stay for some time. Should he go sooner rather than later, DPP vice-president for the South and Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa could step in.
Among some DPP members, Nankhumwa is seen as the great hope.
Spokesperson for DPP, Nicholas Dausi and administrative secretary Francis Mphepo could not comment, saying the party will issue a statement, while Mutharika’s executive assistant Linda Salanjira declined to comment.
DPP was founded in February 2005 while in government as a bastard party by Bingu wa Mutharika after he unceremoniously ditched the United Democratic Front (UDF), the party that sponsored his presidential ticket in May 2004 after then president Bakili Muluzi handpicked him into the post.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :