President Peter Mutharika insists there is no breakdown in the relationship between him and the country’s second in command Saulos Chilima as epic leadership battle promises to ensue within the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), with individuals strategically positioning themselves in readiness for the party’s national convention this year.
There have been continued fevered speculations that President Mutharika and Vice President Chilima are at loggerheads following politics gossip within the rank and file of the corridors of power.
But the President has refuted those claims that he begrudges his deputy and maintains that their rapport is still intact and cordial as usual.
Mutharika said speculations may come because of past relationship between the President and vice president.
He told Zodiak television that some people “automatically” want the relationship between him and Chilima should be sour as has been the case between former Heads of State and their deputies.
“We have a very good relationship,” said President Mutharika.
He was responding to a question raised by Zodiak’s host Gospel Kazako on the speculations that the Head of State and Vice President have a breakdown in relationship
In his response, Mutharika said: “It’s not true. The vice president has responsibilities, disaster management and public events, he does those things, he is working on them…”
He added: “So we have a good working relationship.”
Mutharika said: “People should stop always to find wedge between the President and the vice president.”
But a newspaper columnist Suzgho Khunga argues in her article that “greedy politicians who survive politically on gossip” in their attempts to bring enmity between President Mutharika and his deputy Chilima, they were “too short-sighted, they could not see the forest for the trees.”
The prominent writer observes that DPP is a party waiting to disintegrate and signs of its breaking are becoming imminent by the day.
“You see, everything leading to the convention has not been about the running mate and resulting vice-presidency as those whispering in APM’s ears have made it all out to be,” wrote Khunga, pointing out that the jostling for positions in DPP has been there all along,” Khunga writes in the Weekend Nation.
At the DPP convention, all positions save for the presidency will be up for grabs and according to the columnist. that is the event that will make or break the party.
Khunga stated that the battle lines have been drawn in the party as aspirant for a position of vice president (North) currently held by the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe has publicly stated that her counterpart is spreading lies about her.
“It is somehow gratifying that the winds shaking the DPP boat are coming from the north and the fight between Jappie Mhango and Grace Chiumia for the second vice-presidency of the party.
“While Mhango criss-crosses the country opening inconsequential bridges in a move to maintain his visibility, Chiumia does not have a similar standing since she was ejected out of the Ministry of Home Affairs after her many blunders. But as Minister of Civic Education, she has not used the podium to her benefit but to her detriment since she cannot differentiate between her DPP ambitions and her role as Cabinet minister,” Khunga wrote.
The columnist also warns DPP that its alliance partner United Democratic Front (UDF) will not handover 10 MPs and the whole Eastern Region on a silver platter as they will want something in return – running mate position.
“In all this, the outcome of DPP infighting will either be catastrophic or cathartic. 2018 is the year that will make or break the party and it remains to be seen if it will come out of it united or further divided,” Khunga said in the column.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :