DPP says Section 65 a hit back at Joyce Banda govt

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has said it is championing the implementation of Section 65 in revenge to Joyce Banda’s failure to include them in the Government of National Unity (GNU) she formed with other opposition parties.

President Joyce Banda upon taking over the mantle of leadership appointed other political parties’ members into her cabinet. The parties include United Democratic Front (UDF) and Alliance for Democracy (Aford).

However, this did not go well with DPP who lost some members to Banda’s PP by way of defection and then commenced the implementation of Section 65 which bars members of political parties represented in Parliament from crossing the floor.

In a news conference DPP  held in Blantyre on Monday, the party’s treasure general, Dr. George Chaponda said the once ruling party petitioned Speaker of Parliament to apply Section 65 on its members who defected to government side.

Chaponda: We will fight on

Chaponda said Banda cheated them on the formation of GNU despite agreed to work together.“When our late President Bingu wa Mutharika died, our current leader (Peter) sent us to meet President Joyce Banda to congratulate her and expressing our interest to work with her of which she agreed. And we were supposed to come up with our preposition on cabinet, but the next thing we heard was that she has appointed cabinet ministers and no DPP member was on the list,” Chaponda told the journalists.

Chaponda who is also leader of DPP in Parliament further said that it was dismaying that instead of using proper approach, PP was poaching on DPP members, arguing such act destroys democracy.

“In all civilised societies, when talking of inclusive government, all parties have to be consulted and not going around poaching members of other parties. Section 65 could not have been brought up if there was a government of national unity,” he said.

And DPP second vice president, Jean Kalilani accused Joyce Banda of trying to poach her since Bingu’s demise.

“After Bingu died, somebody approached me while on my way to South Africa for funeral arrangements. The person said was sent by Joyce Banda to remind me that am her relative, of which I know nothing about, and that am just new in the ministry of health and she would like me to continue.

“The person gave me the number to talk to her, but I dint. This person approached me twice. But I could not dump DPP because Bingu died. If I wanted to leave the party, I would have done that long time before, not now. We are now receiving call from people in PP, telling us things are not ok in the party and that we should consider them because come 2014 they are behind DPP,” Kalilani said.

Commenting on the issue, current interim DPP president, Peter Mutharika said those who once defected to PP have started coming back, an indication that DPP was still strong despite some members have sine quit the party..

“Come next meeting Parliament about 20 or more will rejoin DPP. It’s only two people who have quit the party; therefore I don’t see any reason why people should start saying the party is falling apart. DPP is strong as ever, of course we passed a lot of trauma after Bingu’s death but now we are rebuild it and the future looks more bright.

“Wakuda Kamanga and Goodall Gondwe left the party on personal reasons unless if there is any other unknown reasons I was not communicate to, I can vehemently say, DPP is still strong and we are sure of going back into government come 2014,” Mutharika said.

On 2014 coalition

Franked by other party’s officials who include second vice president, Jean Kalilani, Kondwani Nankhumwa and current interim secretary general, Dr. Allan Chembekeza, Mutharika ruled out possibilities of working with other opposition parties in 2014 general elections.

He said the party has no plans to form any merger with other parties, arguing DPP was still vibrant and ready to contest in 2014 general elections alone.

“We are strong party and will contest in all 193 parliamentary seats alone. There is no intention to with work with other parties. We don’t have any plans to merge with other parties,” he said.

“On Mzimba by-elections I will say, such things happen all the time. In any election one has to win and one has to lose. We have learned from the by-elections on how we should handle the future elections. And I promise DPP will do better in future”.

On leadership style

On arguments that top DPP members were dumping the party due to Peter’s style of leadership, the young Mutharika quashed the claims, saying ‘let people judge my leadership style during convention’.

“If people question my leadership, it will be upon the convention and people to decide. I was asked to lead the party, people had trust in me. I was not imposed. If people are going to choose somebody else during our convention, I should say, am ready to work with that person so that we get back into power.

“It’s baseless lie that people are dumping the party because of me. How many have left the party? As far I know, it’s only two and they left on private reasons,” Mutharika argued.

Supporting him, Chaponda said people’s sentiments on Peter’s leadership style were not true and that it’s only the convention that will decide Mutharika’s fate.

And Kalilani added: “national governing council chose Peter to be acting president until convention time. If there was no leadership since Bingu’s death, there would be any party structures existing across the country by now”.

On Police

During the press conference, Mutharika decried the reluctance by Malawi Police Service to provide security during DPP rallies despite asking for one.

“The police have refused to provide us security during our rallies. We wrote the Inspector General of Police on several occasions but he has not responded. We feel as citizens and tax payers, we are entitled to security and we urge government to reconsider. We need protection just like any other person in the country and we hope government will cooperate on that,” Mutharika explained.

During the new conference the party announced that it will hold its national convention within the next six months, contradicting earlier media reports that indicated DPP was to hold its convention in November this year.

However, the party has not mentioned the actual dates and venue for convention, which it has promised will ‘a different convention from any other conventions’.

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