Malawi ex-finance minister Gondwe dumps DPP, quits front-line politics

Former minister Dr Goodall Gondwe credited for Malawi’s economic success during President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first term has confirmed to Nyasa Times exclusively that he has withdrawn his membership from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and was quitting frontline politics.

He has however said he intended to carry on serving as MP for Mzimba North until he retires in 2014 at the end of his parliamentary term of office.

Gondwe in a midnight telephone interview with Nyasa Times on Wednesday said: “I am confirming that I have left Democratic Progressive Party, DPP.”

Goodall: Quit frontline politics, out of DPP

He added: “I have left party politics. I am out of DPP.”

The Mzimba North lawmaker said he vowed to fade away from the political scene together with Bingu wa Mutharika in 2014 but since the death of president Mutharika in April, he would like to fast-track his end of political journey.

“I have taken six months in it so that I should not leave abruptly. Now time has come. I am no longer in DPP. I want to leave political party politics,” Gondwe told Nyasa Times.

Gondwe has left DPP at a time when it is bruised and shocked after losing the twin-by-elections in Mzimba Central and Mzimba South West constituencies on Tuesday.

Political life

Asked to comment on his life experience in frontline politics, Gondwe said:”I think it has been exciting particularly from the first term of DPP.”

Gondwe told Nyasa Times that without any fear of contradiction, when he was the country’s purse keeper he “contributed lot to the success of DPP, in many ways.”

He said Local Government Ministerial portfolio was also exciting to him.

“I enjoyed working with local authorities particularly chiefs. I was a bit disappointed when I was removed [in 2011].”

Pressed to comment on his frustration in the Mutharika-led government, Gondwe said: “I was not happy with some political machinations.”

He did not elaborate.

However, Gondwe expressed displeasure with his corruption probe by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in relation to the manner in which procurement of 2005/06 subsidised fertiliser was conducted. Gondwe was Finance Minister then.

He said without his efforts, the 2005/06 Farm Input Subsidy Programme “would not have been launched.”

Adding: “This has haunted me until recently when I was cleared by the ACB of any wrongdoing.”

Road to 2014

Questioned to give his views on the chances of DPP bouncing back to power in the 2014 elections, Gondwe said: “I wouldn’t like to comment on that. I don’t know how they will handle it.”

Gondwe was DPP vice president and was seen as a potential contestant to party’s leadership for the 2014 elections.

He observed: “Malawi politics is much personalized.”

Gondwe said Malawi political parties are more of the same, saying “each of them is doing the same things. Ideologically there is no difference.”

“PP (People’s Party of President Joyce Banda) is actually doing the same things.”

Career

Gondwe began his political career serving as an economic adviser to former president Bakili Muluzi and subsequently Bingu wa Mutharika.

Born 1936 the revered Malawian economist has served  as the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Affairs ; the Minister of Finance  where he was an “engine room” of Malawi economic success and Minister of Local Government .

He also worked at International Monetary Fund where he headed the African division.

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