The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Director of Elections Ben Phiri and Regional Governor for the Centre Bintony Kutsaila have stormed parts of Central Region where they are conducting whistle stop rallies to drum up support for President Peter Mutharika, party parliamentary aspirants and ward councillors ahead of the May 21
On Monday, Phiri was in Dowa East constituency while Kutsaira was in Kasungu and on Tuesday the two held joint rallies in Mchinji district.
Contrary to the common belief that central region is political bedrock for the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the DPP rallies have so far been well patronized, a development Phiri says is an indication of the party’s growing popularity in rural areas.
“It is only the DPP that advances policies that deliberately target the well-being of rural masses. It is only the DPP government that has distributed development across the country so that every Malawian has fair share of the national cake.
“Since 2014, the Peter Mutharika-led administration has constructed roads in both urban and rural areas, over 250 villages now have electricity through Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep), new schools have been built among several other development, too numerous to mention,” he said.
Phiri, who is considered as Mutharika’s long tim blue-eyed boy. continued:”These people-centred developments are what connects President Mutharika to his people on the ground. Malawians are not fools and they have never been, they are able to differentiate the current and previous regimes. So we are going all over the country to remind Malawians that the only person who can truly transform their lives is none other than Prof. Peter Mutharika.”
Phiri’s political manoeuvring of the central region coincides with the official opening of campaign by the Malawi Electoral Commission.
The ruling DPP is hoping to repeat its 2009 formidable victory when its founding leader Bingu wa Mutharika swept votes across the country despite facing stiff competition from an MCP/UDF coalition.
Fast forward 2019, the same DPP under Bingu’s brother Peter is facing another challenge from a coalition of MCP and PP as well as Saulosi Chilima’s UTM, a DPP splinter group.
Recent opinion polls by reputable institutions have all predicted a DPP and Mutharika victory because of unwillingness by main opposition blocs MCP and UTM to join forces.
Meanwhile, Phiri and Kutsaira are expected to conduct more rallies in Msundwe, Ming’ongo, Phirilanjuzi and Chiwenga headquarters in Lilongwe rural.