Former president Peter Mutharika will continue to lead Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) until a party’s national convention elects a new leader with party top brass advising him to carry on as long as he can.
The resolution was made at his Mangochi retirement villa for the fomer president when the party’s politiburo met to discuss leadership succession.
According to sources in the party, Mutharika, who lost to President Lazarus Chakwera in the June 23 fresh presidential election,called the meeting to announce intention to retire from active politics and suggest an acting President of the party pending national convention.
However, members vehemently opposed any handpicked successor, arguing Mutharika’s suggestion was surprising and undemocratic.
“The leaders attending that meeting on Tuesday included the party’s vice presidents for all political regions-south, east, centre and north, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Dr. Bright Msaka, Uladi Mussa and Goodall Gondwe, secretary general Gelzeder Jeffrey, Francis Mphepo, the Administrative Secretary and executive member Brown Mpinganjira, among others.
“A few agreed with APM but a majority of the members said the mandate to run the party always ought to come from the leaders of the party in all its structures not an individual,” said one source.
After hours of arguments and counter-arguments, the meeting resolved that the former president continues to lead the party until the national convention is held when he will transfer leadership to an elected official.
It is not clear when the party would hold its elective conference, which was slated for 2023 if the party were still in government.
University of Malawi political scientist Mustafa Hussein said looking at the DPP’s performance in the presidential election, it is time for the party to conduct a postmortem and see where it went wrong and focus on what needs to be done.