The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker for Mulanje South Patricia Kaliati has delivered a blistering attack on her party for launching a terror campaign over party’s power struggle for presidential candidate.
Kaliati said continued attacks and intimidation by DPP cadres against proponents of Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s presidential candidature for the party in 2019, will only make the Veep more popular.
Her harsh warning came amid barbaric harassment that she faced at Parliament on Friday when DPP youth cadets blocked her from entering the National Assembly where President Peter Mutharika was delivering his State Opening Address of the 3rd Meeting in the 47th Session of Parliament and 2018/2019 Budget Meeting.
Kaliati, who is the party’s national director of women, was later allowed to enter Parliament premises after police and some staff at the National Assembly intervened.
DPP southern regional governor Charles Mchacha is reported to have sent the rough necks to block Kaliati and harass her. But Mchacha said he was not aware of the incident.”
Put to him that party sources mentioned that it was their southern region boss who organised the rough necks, Mchaha said: “ Why can’t you ask George Chaponda, he is vice president for south?”.
Chaponda could not be reached for comment.
Kaliati said she is aware that the DPP cadets were sent to intimidate her by party officials , calling them that ‘their tactics will not work’.
“These dirty tactics will only help make the Veep to be more popular. In fact, the number one supporter of Saulosi Chilima is the President himself who picked him in 2014 to be his running mate. Why should I be insulted and attacked for supporting the Presidents own choice,” said free-speaking Kaliati.
She said the DPP should conduct themselves in a manner that is “acceptable to the citizens” ahead of the country’s crunch elections next year.
Kaliati said DPP is losing touch with “intra-party violence.”
One of the targeted legislatures for harassment Noel Masangwi also condemned barbaric activities championed by some “beasts of prey” in the rank and file of DPP, saying this cannot be acceptable in any civilised society.
Chilima was at parliament and had interacted with politicians from all sides of the House. He was also spotted being greeted by leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera among others.
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that the “intra-party violence” only showed that the DPP leadership have not acted on the Episcopal Conference of Malawi’s recent pastoral letter which bemoaned lack of intraparty democracy in our political parties.
“It also showed that the DPP has not learnt from the past. Why should it be a crime for someone to exercise his or her freedom of association as provided by the Constitution with any politician? What the DPP gurus are trying to do is to create a reign of terror where people who holds a different view from that of the party’s inner circle on Mutharika’s 2019 candidature should be afraid to do so,” said Munthali.
The Pastoral Letter issued last Sunday, signed by leaders of all the eight Catholic dioceses in the country, led by ECM bishop chairman Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa of Blantyre, underscore the importance of intra-party democracy, saying it is mainly through their chosen political parties that Malawians find full expression of their political rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
Among a list of examples of lack of intra-party democracy in the parties, the bishops say, key decisions are made by the party leader alone and sometimes only upon consultation with cronies, hangers-on or tribesmen.
They warn that the country cannot expect party leaders who stifle intra-party democracy to suddenly become democrats once they are in government.
But the bishops also warn that the success of entrenching democracy in the country largely depends on citizens’ understanding and participating in democracy.
In his speech, President Peter Mutharika defended his tenure as successful and transformative, saying his administration has achieved macro-economic stability and delivered infrastructure development needed to grow the country’s economy and uplift millions from poverty.
Last year, results of an Afrobarometer Survey revealed that if elections were to be held then Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of the opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera would win the elections.
During the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, the Mutharika-Chilima pair got 36 percent of the presidential vote to oust then incumbent Joyce Banda. Mutharika picked Chilima as his running mate from the private sector where he worked as Airtel Malawi managing director.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :