Malawi: DPP attacks JB govt at Njamba rally

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Sunday invaded Blantyre city with virulent attacks of President Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP), calling her administration a  ‘government by accident’.

DPP held its first rally since the death of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika in Blantyre at Njamba Freedom Park, an event that was attended by a mammoth of crowd, which the party has compared to the 1993 multiparty rally turnouts.

During the Sunday rally, DPP interim president, Professor Peter Mutharika announced that the party’s anticipated convention will be held next month and promised to construct a 60,000 capacity football stadium in Blantyre if it comes to to power in 2014.

The rally was characterised by surprises as some of the DPP’s members like Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba and Parliamentarian Aaron Sangala deemed to have quit the party, announced their come back.

Other notable faces at the rally included celebrated urban music artist and entrepreneur, Limbani ‘Tay Grin’ Kalilani, Harry Thomson, Henry Mussa, Yunus Mussa, Vuwa Kaunda, Anna Kachikho, Dr. Jean Kalilani, Dr George Chaponda among others.

Peter Mutharika in an open vehicle as his convoy arrives at Njamba rally.-Photo Nyasa Times

During the four-hour rally, top DPP gurus that included its director of women and Parliamentarian, Patricia Kaliati, the party went flat-out tearing Joyce Banda’s administration, labelling it as a sinking ship.

JB attacked

Speaking first was the party’s Regional Governor for the South, Noel Masangwi who described his recent arrest in connection to the death of Polytechnic student, Robert Chasowa, as political aimed at silencing him.

Masangwi challenged PP to come out in the open and test its popularity in Blantyre as DPP has done, arguing President Banda got in government by accident.

“Let Joyce Banda know that we are here. I am the most wanted one. She has been sending her boys, the likes of Ralph Kasambara and Khumbo Kachali to arrest me. She even cancelled her rally in Machinjiri and proceeded to Zomba because she was scared of us.

“She has been using her boys to suspend anti-gay laws, we know it? She is president today because of this very same party (DPP) she is castigating,” Masangwi told the crowd.

Masangwi, just like other speakers after him, wondered how Joyce Banda would suspend anti-gay laws and advocate for same sex marriages when she is a married woman.

“Joyce Banda is using Ralph Kasambara to suspend anti-gay laws. She is married woman for that matter. If she is interested in same sex marriages why not divorcing her husband first so that she is justified. If they think we are happy with it, wait we will demonstrate. We have the capacity to hold demonstrations. They can come and arrest me now, am not afraid.

“She is lying; there is hunger in the country. She should be the first person to know that it was Bingu who ended hunger in the country, Bingu taught people to be self- reliant not begging. Joyce Banda needs to tell the nation the truth from where she is getting the maize she is distributing because we know it is government maize,” Masangwi challenged.

In his turn, DPP director of protocol, Paul Chibingu wondered why the distribution of subsidised fertiliser has not yet started despite Parliament approving funds for subsidy programme.

“Come Parliament on Monday, we will quiz government to explain why no single bag of fertiliser has been distributed by now despite being in rainy season. Had we known it will be like this, we would have shot down the subsidy budget vote. And Joyce Banda spent K1 million to distribute 500 20kgs of maize in Phalombe at a cost of K19 million, is there any sense there?” Chibingu wondered.

Joining the bandwagon of castigating PP and President Banda was DPP’s youth director, Lewis Ngalande, who described his arrest in connection with the death of Chasowa as a political move to kill  Peter Mutharika’s popularity.

Ngalande said President Joyce Banda was destroying all the progress the Mutharika’s administration achieved, arguing Banda has no qualification to be a leader.

“They are instituting the arrests just to manipulate us so that we implicate our leader Peter Mutharika, but we cannot do that. We are behind Mutharika. We are not a killing party, if so, all these journalists today would have been dead then because they were so critical, insulting late President Bingu wa Mutharika. Let them speed up our cases so that justice should prevail. 2014 will be a judgment day for Joyce Banda,” Ngalande said.

Kaliati pits fire

Spitting more fire was Patricia Kaliati, who argued that Banda was using hunger strategy as move to win support, saying the country has enough food and that if it is to experience hunger, it  would be for the first time under PP’s rule.

“She She is busy distributing maize, tell me, where is that maize coming from..anazala awa, anakolola awa (did they plant or harvest any maize? Then where is the maize coming from. Isnt it the same maize Bingu stored in our national reserves and now they are using it as campaigning tool, shame.

“She should know devaluation is hurting people. What about the universities Bingu initiated and she is ignoring them, DPP will proceed with such development projects so that more young people should go to college,” Kaliati said amidst cheers.

Mutharika talk

And taking his turn, Mutharika described the Sunday rally as “thank-you” to people in Blantyre for their support during and after the funeral of late President Bingu wa Mutharika who died in April this year.

“This is not a campaign rally, no. Once we start our campaign you will know it. It will be a very comprehensive campaign this nation has never seen. It will be both in air and on ground. The death of our leader, Bingu wa Mutharika was sudden but you people here supported us and on behalf of the Mutharika family I say thank you for your generous support,” Mutharika said.

Mutharika attacked Banda’s administration for sidelining the famous Nsanje Waterway Project, arguing the port will always remain a priority to this country contrary to current government’s revelations that it is not part of its development agenda.

The DPP leader also said more MPs will come back to DPP during the next sitting of Parliament which starts tomorrow.

“Once the Section 65 has been implemented, you will see more than 70 MPs coming back and the issue of Leader of Opposition is still on. It’s not about me fighting for that position; it’s about DPP claiming what supposed to be theirs. The issue is still at court. We need to unite if we are to win 2014,” he explained.

However, the High court in Blantyre last week dismissed the application for judicial review by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on its quest to take over the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament on the basis that the party has no legal capacity to sue or be sued.

Speaking earlier DPP spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi who was also master of ceremonies, disclosed that about 150 PP members in the South have joined DPP. The members were welcomed into the party during the rally.

Among those coming back was Aaron Sangala who defected to PP soon after Mutharika’s death.

Sangala described himself as prodigal son and asked for forgiveness. He pledged to continue serving the party.

DPP held its rally at Njamba Freedom Park a week before another opposition party, United Democratic Front (UDF) does the same

DPP platform at Njamba.-Photo Nyasa Times
DPP convoy to the rally.-Photo Nyasa Times
DPP youth cadets.-Photo Nyasa Times
Crowds at Njamba on Sunday.-Photo Nyasa Times
DPP crowds at Njamba.-Photo Nyasa Times
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