By Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times
Presidential hopeful, Education Minister Professor Peter Mutharika has been caught on record backbiting officials of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
His conversation with an aide was recorded by MIJ Radio when reporter Joseph Mwale phoned the president’s brother to comment on his endorsement as DPP presidential candidate.
The DPP presidential candidate made the comments not realising that the phone was not fully hanged up and MIJ kept recording his talk with an aide.
Mutharika said DPP fired its secretary general, Bintony Kutsaira during its National Governing Council (NGC) meeting recently at the New State House because he was playing double standards.
“Kutsaira was playing double standards,” Professor Mutharika is heard in a recorded chat that Nyasa Times has obtained.
Mutharika, who was “unanimously endorsed as DPP presidential candidate for the 2014 general elections, suggests in recorded conversation that Kutsaira either wants to run for the presidents “or wants to be running mate”, accusing him of supporting Chimunthu Banda “who is also interested in the presidency”.
He calls Kutsaira a “smuggler like (Noel) Masangwi”, who is DPP regional governor for the South and runs Elvis Freight, recently embroidered in allegations of duty evasion.
Professor Mutharika says Kutsaira was using his position as secretary general to “harass MRA officials,” without elaboration.
The heir apparent to his elder brother Bingu wa Mutharika whose tenure of office comes to an end in 2014, also suspects Ken Kandodo , the finance minister to campaigning for either the presidency or to be running mate.
“But he is on our side,” says the younger Mutharika, adding that Chimunthu Banda would not succeed because “he is not a Chewa but a Tonga” who Malawians cannot entrust with the leadership of the country.
The conversation, which mainly centres on what strategy to employ to deal with questions about his endorsement, lasts for about 20 minutes, with Phiri suggesting that the law professor should go flat out campaigning to which Mutharika agrees.
“When they ask me about my endorsement by the DPP, I will say yes I am happy that they have endorsed me but we will still conduct a national convention where I will outline my policies,” he said.
“But it’s now open, Atupele (Muluzi) has started campaigning; Joyce Banda has started campaigning, we cannot lag behind,” Professor Mutharika was recorded saying.
The recording has been put on tape and circulating widely in the country. Some people were even sharing it on internet.
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