Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker for Mulanje South Patricia Kaliati has said the party leadership summoned three lawmakers who are proponents of Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s presidential candidature for the party in 2019 for talks at Sanjika Palace on Tuesday but they failed to agree to mend fences.
Kaliati in a leaked audio which Nyasa Times has independently verified dismissed rumours that the meeting had ended by two factions agreeing a cease fire and rally behind President Peter Mutharika as the torchbearer.
She blamed social media users posting such allegations as peddling on lies and propaganda.
Team Chilima was represented by legislators Patrica Kaliati, Noel Masangwi and Lewis Ngalande.
The President team had among others Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa of the Lhomwe tribe and business tycoon Leston Mulli, who is also chairman of the Mulhakho wa Alhomwe heritage group and Ben Phiri.
The President attended the meeting but the vice president was not there, said our source.
“We didn’t agree to whatever people are talking about. I think it is just a propaganda,” Kaliati is heard said in the clip.
“They forced us to go and do a press conference, they forced us to agree that we are going to do issues of Peter not Chilima. We did refuse that we cannot do that. If you want to kill us, you can,” said Kaliati defiantly.
She said the trio snubbed Mulli, who according to her, had initially been part of the Chilima-for president crusade.
“We have our own intelligence and conscious,” said Kaliati.
Kaliati said they cannot be stampeded to endorse Mutharika as other lawmakers are being forced to do.
“We cannot do that, we cannot do that,” she stressed vociferously.
Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is Minister of Local Government and Community Development, is heard in another leaked audio telling the party’s secretary general (SG) Gressielder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey that Masangwi was contacted that he might be appointed into Cabinet alongside Kaliati, but Masangwi is said to have responded that he was not interested as the appointment may not last.
Jeffrey said they should advise Mutharika to call for an NGC [National Governing Council] meeting to talk about those issues.
Kaliati, who is the party’s national director of women, was a fortnight ago blocked by the DPP youth cadets from entering the National Assembly where President Mutharika was delivering his State Opening Address of the 3rd Meeting in the 47th Session of Parliament and 2018/2019 Budget Meeting.
The cadets also intimidated Masangwi and another lawmaker in support of Chilima, Bon Kalindo.
Kaliati insist that the number one supporter of Chilima is the President himself who picked him in 2014 to be his running mate.
She said: “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.
Ngalande said ijn an interview that some senior members of DPP – including those endorsing Mutharika now – will soon come out and express their views on the leadership issue, disclosing that meetings have been taking place and that Chilima would even be approached.
DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila could also not be reached at the time of compiling this story on his mobile phone on several attempts.
The former first lady Callista Mutharika, wife to the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, was the first person to openly support Chilima’s presidential candidacy, arguing her in-law, the current President, was too old to run for the presidency in May next year and that DPP cannot win with him.
Callista said Chilima was “the only hope for a better Malawi”.
She said DPP cannot win with Peter Mutharika as a presidential candidate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :