The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has challenged the country’s vice president Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima and anyone seeking to run for the party’s presidential candidature in the 2019 Tripartite Elections to come out in the open and tender their candidature.
She was speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday when the party’s members of Parliament were endorsing president Peter Mutharika as their torch bearer during the 2019 watershed tripartite elections.
The endorsements come against the background of some DPP members declaring their support for Vice-President Saulos Chilima to stand for the presidency in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Mutharika, 79, is facing an unprecedented resistance, for an incumbent eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution, from a section of his governing DPP lobbying for the candidacy of Chilima, 45.
Wa Jeffrey without directly mentioning Chilima, said those who are calling the president too old to stand again and pave way for the youthful vice president have been sent.
“I want to assure you that we will hold a party convention. We are not afraid and we are ready. If there is someone who is interested to contest please feel free to do so.
“We know there are some people who are speaking against APM but we know that they have been sent by someone. But we wonder why he is hiding instead of coming out and declare his interest. There is no need to hide, please come out and declare your interest,” She said.
Jeffrey made the challenge at Golden Peacock Hotel in response to a question that reflected signs of a widening rift within the party over support for Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s candidature in 2019.
She said the party believes that if there is anyone wishing to challenge President Peter Mutharika, at their forthcoming convention, they should feel free to do so.
Jeffrey, who is also Member of Parliament for Nkokotakota South Constituency, pointed out that the aspirants need to follow proper party procedures in order to be considered in the race and not through social media and other news outlets.
She said currently, DPP Members of Parliament have issued a communique in support of President Mutharika’s candidature for the ruling DPP in 2019 elections but also observed that there is a Chilima-for-presidency crusade in the party.
“There has been a lot of talk about DPP’s presidential torch bearer for 2019 and some people want the party to field a different candidate but they are not coming out clearly,” Jeffery stated.
The SG explained that the party wishes those behind the movement to come out in the open and officially present their candidate to the party and Malawians.
“If the aspirant for the presidency is not saying anything regarding the proposal it means he is the one behind the talk and he is using certain individuals to speak on his behalf. This is not a good development for the party. If he is interested, let him notify the party about his candidature and so that proper procedures should be followed for him to contest,” she said.
Jeffrey said most of the DDP Members of Parliament, except for a very few have relayed their support for Mutharika in 2019 but the party’s convention would decide who to take the party forward.
She pointed out that Mutharika has a constitution mandate to run the country for two terms and the party’s constitution has a provision for him to seek re-election and represent the party in the next year’s elections.
Taking her turn, Blantyre North East Constituency MP, Cecilia Chazama said DPP is a democratic party where its leadership would be drawn from the national convention to be conducted soon.
She added that MPs have agreed to endorse Mutharika for the 2019 polls because of his commitment to the country’s development agenda and keeping the Party intact.
“Mutharika has done a lot in the country and we wish him to continue implementing his plans for the country and that is why all the MPs have endorsed him as our presidential candidate,” Chazama, who is also Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security noted.
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