DPP says Malawi coup plotters free to contest at convention: All set for Aprl 17 indaba

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hasn’t cancelled its convention slated for April 17 and that its acting president Peter Mutharika and others facing treason charges will be free to contest for any position, the party said on Tuesday.

The party’s Director of Research, Dr George Chaponda said DPP senior members, who had been arrested after being implicated by a commission of inquiry that investigated circumstances that sorrounded the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika who died in office last April, will run for any position including the presidential candidature.

“At the convenrtion DPP will elect any candidate with presidential credentials,” Chaponda said.

“Even if a person is being charged with treason, is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said Chaponda, a highly trained lawyer.

Peter Mutharika: To run for presidency
Peter Mutharika: To run for presidency

Chaponda said in Kenya they recently elected Uhuru Kenyatta as President while being indicted by International Court of Justice on criminal charges.

He also said locally, “in 1994 a candidate was elected in Malawi though he was branded a thief.”

Chaponda claimed the PP is panicking and was resorting to harassing the opposition in order to detract people’s attention from socio-economic ills.

“There are a lot of problems in the country to waste time on this,” he said. “Government is only trying to divert attention from real problems.”

Chaponda, parliamentary leader of the DPP, said the PP government under the Presidency of Joyce Banda was making Peter Mutharika and the DPP stronger and popular by making him, his MPs face  charges which he argued are political. .

He said Mutharika would not be intimidated by anybody because he was a free man and that PP tactics to destabilize the former ruling party would not work.

But Government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu said it was wrong to suggest that President Banda was oppressive, arguing that the police were doing their duty and would only arrest people suspected of wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the party’s publicist Nicholas Dausi, who also spent three days in police custody before being released on bail, said “On Friday, we’ll release names of those who’ve been nominate.”

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