Association of Former Members of Parliament has claimed that former First Lady Calista Mutharikais getting death threats since she told the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to abandon her in-law, President Peter Mutharika as its presidential candidate and her open support for Vice-President Saulos Chilima to become DPP’s torchbearer for the 2019 elections.
In a WhatsApp chat group of former legislators and Cabinet ministers, Callista, widow to president Bingu wa Mutharika, set the tonne for her views which she has repeated during interviews with Capital Radio and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) .
However, the DPP secretary general Grazider Jeffrey and State House press secretary Mgeme Kalilani have trashed Callista’s rant.
“She does not hold any position in the party therefore she is not better placed to say that,” said Jeffrey.
An audio voice clip is circulation on social media in which unidentified voice is threatening to deal with Callista for her outburst.
Secretary General of the former legislator’s grouping, Ronald Chanthunya, said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times, that they have listened to the audio clip where it is clearly saying that some citizensare ready to have her dealt with and bringing her days to the end where they are asserting that Timupatsa Jakisoni wa Agaru without elaborating.
The former legislators are calling for an investigation into the matter so that the culprit is brought to book.
However, sources said the person who recorded the voice has told police that he was asked by some opposition elements to issue that threat and implicate DPP as if its baying the blood for Callista.
The say the threats are a gimmick and tactics to gain sympathy from the public that Callista is under threat.
However, Police deputy national spokesman Thomeck Nyaude said they are investigation the matter but warned people against issuing threats for political gains.
Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali expressed concerns over death threats claims.
“ Just as in MCP (Malawi Congress Party), here we also lack of intra-party democracy in DPP where someone is allegedly being persecuted for voicing out her mind to support another candidate as the party torchbearer in 2019 elections.
“However, it is not surprising to hear of divisions in DPP as it has always been publicly apparent that Chilima is sidelined, and the Calista’s case only comes to confirm this hypothesis. It’s only that DPP has been clever enough to hide their squabbles in the public as compared to MCP. However, as the election draws near we should expect more surprises,” said Munthali.
He said Calista’s case may also signify that all is not well with her and her in law Peter Mutharika.
“Perhaps this possibility of family squabbles may also explain the failure for the family to hold Bingu commemoration where both are supposed to attend. It may also signify her support for Chilima’s candidature,” he said.
Mzuzu-based political commentator Emily Mkamanga said Callista was free to make her own opinion, which she said could attract negative reactions from other members of the party.
“Her opinion might divide the party somehow,” said Mkamanga.
But a member of the Political Scientists Association of Malawi, Patricia Khonje observed that Callista’s opinion has no implication on the DPP leadership because it was only her personal view.
“Her opinion has no scientific basis, so it would be difficult to tell whether her comments would have any impact on the DPP leadership,” she said.
In an interview with Capital Radio, Callista said in responding to a journalist question on hy she is not supporting President Peter Mutharika, who is her in-law: “Should I be supporting somebody just because he is my family?”
Callista said Chilima was the country’s hope for a better future, saying she is Catholic and she stands for justice, love and peace, hence she has decided to speak for the poor.
And she told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) that she is airing her views to protect President Peter Mutharika, from ‘beasts of prey’ whoch she claimed have surrounded the Malawi leader.
“I know my in-law, he is a good man, he was not like this, but he is being pressurised to stand again. He is surrounded by beasts who are misleading him.
“People think I am being rude. I am not. It is not an offence to be old. I am against thieves and beasts that have surrounded my in-law,” Callista said.
Callista alleged that some people, who were critical of her, were once involved in corruption scandals, but they now hold senior positions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :