DPP rejects proposal for Mutharika to go unopposed

Peter Mutharika:  Faces Chimunthu Banda at convention
Peter Mutharika: Faces Chimunthu Banda at convention

Former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose officials publicly proclaimed to have “unanimously” endorsed Peter Mutharika as its 2014 presidential candidate, on Thursday had a heated debate over a proposal by some of the members to let Mutharika go unopposed at the national convention.

DPP is scheduled to have its first ever national convention from April 17 to 19.

Mutharika is challenged for the position of president by Henry Chimunthu Banda, who is the current Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly.

The convention venue has been shifted to Blantyre from Lilongwe, the DPP NGC’s meeting at Wamkulu Palace in Lilongwe, agreed.

According some NGC members who attended the meeting, members disagreed over the proposal to have Mutharika go unchallenged at the convention.

Mutharika loyalists were gunning for the party to bar Chimunthu Banda from challenging Mutharika for the presidency.

“Some proposed that we should uphold what the party initially agreed by endorsing Mutharika as an automatic candidate for the party,”one NGC member told Nyasa Times.

The member said the “coronation” proposal was eventually shot down by most of the members.

But DPP acting secretary general Allan Chiyembekeza said members were just making reference to resolutions of the party have Peter Mutharika as president.

Mutharika, young brother to former president late Bingu wa Mutharika has publicly said ‘no matter what’ he will represent the party in 2014 tripartite elections.

His remarks attracted condemnation from Dr. Mustafa Hussein, Chancellor College’s political analyst, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), saying they have potential to discredit the indaba.

He advised DPP that if it is to survive, democracy should start from within the party.

The political analyst also expressed doubts on Peter Mutharika’s ability of leading the DPP , saying he is someone who is yet to demonstrate his leadership qualities after failing to stand up to the occasion during the fight for academic freedom when he was Minister of Education.

DPP has never held a convention to elect office-bearers at any level since its formation in 2005..

There were fears that the party wasn’t going to hold the indaba following the arrest of Mutharika and 10 other top officials for allegedly trying to block then vice president Joyce Banda’s ascendency to office of the president.

They have been charged with treason, among other charges.

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