The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has asked its supporters to exercise patience as the party is organizing a convention as calls are growing louder that the party would lose if President Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) vies for the second term in the forthcoming 2019 Tripartite Elections.
A faction in the party argue that the 79-year-old Mutharika will be a liability to his party in next year’s general elections on account of his old age. They say the President should retire at the end of his current five-year term and allow his 45-year-old Vice-President Saulos Chilima to contest on the governing DPP’s ticket
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila and presidential advisor Hetherwick Ntaba said the mandate for the current
leadership of the DPP runs up to 2019, saying there is no need therefore to push for the convention.
“People should be patient, the party will hold the convention,” said Kasaila.
Kasaila;s comments come barely a day after some DPP executive committee members, including the party’s vice presidents, and the women’s wing, held a news conference separately to back President Peter Mutharika candidacy.
This follows former president Callista Mutharika’s surprise call for her brother in-law, President Mutharika to pave way for Chilima as the party torch bearer in the 2019 election, arguing the president is too old to hold on to power.
Kasaila said the party would issue a statement once all logistics for the convention have been finalized.
Ntaba said the party will not be distracted by Callista Mutharika on its strategy to feature Mutharika as the torch-bearer and Chilima as his running-mate, as was the case in the 2014 polls.
DPP Eastern Region vice-president Bright Msaka also said the party will hold its convention soon, insisting Mutharika will be their torchbearer come 2019.
However, Msaka who is also believed to be earmarked for running-mate of Mutharika, said Chilima will not pair with Mutharika unless the President will decide to maintain him.
He said: “The choice of a running mate remains a presidential choice. In 2014, it pleased him to choose Saulos Chilima. So we cannot tell you his choice because we cannot speak for him.”
Political commentator Nandin Patel has warned DPP to take views of people seriously if it is to realise its dream of maintaining power in 2019, saying “members of the party should have the right to express their views on the candidate they want.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :