A story is reported on social media that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) one of the aspiring candidates for Lilongwe City Central Constituency, Alfred Gangata, is mad at the party’s District Governor and the entire National Executive Committee for attempting to block him from contesting in the forth coming primary elections.
The reports say that, “In a recent heated meeting with the constituency committee, Gangata said that bad politics is therefore being applied in order to block him from contesting”.
The millionaire youthful aspirant is alleging as that the party may have now identified a “preferred potential” candidate.
The Gangata story may be a drop in the ocean. There is reportedly chaos in the ruling party, DPP, of President Peter Mutharika, over the way it is conducting its primary elections. The first phase of the party’s primaries are first being held in constituencies where sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) are not DPP but inside sources are predicting doom if the party does not change the way it is conducting the exercise.
According to an inside sources, DPP’s Director of Elections, Ben Phiri appears to be the main source of the problem because he has been imposing candidates in constituencies across the country some of whom are not popular on the ground.
It appears Director of Elections is championing a scheme to make certain candidates win the primaries based on their connections to him than on their popularity on the ground or their capacity to campaign and win the elections. Unfortunately some of these candidates are not winning candidates.
DPP, or at least Ben Phiri, must learn from the past. Imposition of candidates has led to the sprouting of independent candidates from their original political parties, seriously damaging the parties’ chances of winning crucial parliamentary seats.
According to one aspirant who lost “in very suspicious circumstances”, a majority of the imposed candidates are coming to the primaries ill-prepared.
“The main factor has been the lack of familiarity with area committees at constituency level because either they did not campaign adequately or they are just not wanted by constituents. Sometimes, different candidates appear to have different sets of area committees as a result of the lack of a consolidated voters roll acceptable to all contestants,” he said.
According to the aspirant, this has been a recurrent problem in almost all the constituencies where the primaries have been conducted and it appears to be the main pain-point, which is bringing about differences and chaos to the exercise. As a result the accusations against Ben Phiri appear to be growing by the day such that they cannot be ignored anymore.
The complaints put forward by these parliamentary candidates have triggered alarms among some top officials, including Secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey, who has demanded an explanation from Director of Elections. A meeting was, therefore, set to discuss the underlying issues that have led to the chaos so as to iron out the challenges.
However, according to inside sources, Ben Phiri, instead of coming to the meeting, he summoned the party’s Secretary General and other senior party officials to his private residence at Bvumbwe in Thyolo for a meeting apparently to brief them on the status of the primary elections.
It is not clear whether or not the meeting took place. But one thing is clear here; maybe because he once worked as Mutharika’s Personal Assistant, Ben Phiri thinks he is a very important person within the top ranks of the DPP. It is this sense of importance which is propping his ego to start summoning senior party officials to his house for briefings.
It is obvious the SG and senior DPP officials would not be amused to be invited to Ben Phiri’s home to discuss crucial party matters, like primary elections when the party has established offices all over the place. Above all, Ben Phiri is very junior in the party hierarchy to summon the SG when it was supposed to be the other way round.
It is not a secret Ben Phiri has presidential ambitions. But it is also clear that Ben Phiri’s presidential ambitions would wreck the party and tear it asunder if ways will not be found soon to tame the former aide to Mutharika. It is clear that Ben Phiri is developing a support base within the DPP, in lieu of his ambition to become president of the party and eventually President of this country.
His ambition requires a solid base of political support including that of MPs, which is why he is making sure that he has candidates in constituencies who would support his agenda. This is also the reason why he opted to cling to the position Director of Elections without being elected.
The position of Director of Elections was one of the positions which were not contested for at the party’s elective convention held in July this year, and one which was among a few positions, whose holders President Peter Mutharika – who is also President of the DPP – was slated to appoint. However, before the appointments were made, Ben Phiri started throwing his weight around; making announcements and acting like he is already Director of Elections.
This was a deliberate ploy by Ben Phiri to make himself look like he has already gelled in the position and to make Peter Mutharika have no option but to appoint him to the position that he appears to be comfortable in. It is a well elaborated plan and it started from afar; a plan whose objective is for Ben Phiri to make himself President of Malawi via the DPP presidency. What we are seeing today are only fruits of that presidential ambition.
There is a general feeling among the top hierarchy in the party that the primary elections must be suspended so that a comprehensive review is undertaken to come up with the best way for conducting the exercise without ruffling too many feathers and to make sure that it does not break the party apart.
There used to be fear among the rank and file members of the DPP to approach and criticize Ben Phiri mainly due to the fact that he is perceived to be close to President Peter Mutharika and therefore untouchable. That fear appears to have dissipated now because the general feeling is that he is becoming dangerous loose cannon who can wreak the whole ship if he is left untreated.
Indeed, Ben Phiri must therefore be put in his right place so that the party redirects its energy on substantive issues that can help it retain power next year amidst the stiff competition.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :