The current wave of confusion in the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) since the emergence of a movement canvassing for Vice-President Saulos Chilima to be the presidential candidate in the May 2019 Tripartite Elections continues to be the dominant story in Malawi press, with the leading daily newspaper calling on President Peter Mutharika and his party to give democracy a chance as they manage the issue.
The Chilima Movement, which is pushing for the Veep to lead the party, has reportedly started visiting the structures nationwide to drum up support for Chilima, who is yet to comment on the issue.
But some party officials have argued that Mutharika, going by the DPP constitution, is not supposed to seek a fresh mandate at the convention to be the party’s torchbearer in the elections because he has served on term.
In an editorial comment on Friday, The Nation, newspaper advises DPP that democracy is a system of governance that gives people an opportunity to choose leaders of their choice in various spheres of life, including political parties and at national level.
It said the DPP should desist from lack of tolerance and intra-party democracy in handling the leadership contest.
The paper says the Chilima Movement wants the Veep to challenge Mutharika for the party’s leadership raises more questions than answers.
“In fact the development is unprecedented in Malawi’s democracy for an incumbent eligible for another term. Precisely, it points to a vote of no confidence,” reads the editorial comment in part.
The daily said Mutharika and DPP cannot ignore the so called ‘Chilima Movement’ members from within DPP calling for a convention.
DPP has not yet set a date for the convention but top members have clearly said all delegates in support for Chilima will be barred from the indaba to enable Mutharika gets his mandate without a challenge.
The developments continue to split the party in which some members want Chilima be the party torchbearer in the 2019 Tripartite Elections while others support the incumbent President Mutharika.
But the paper said those calling for an elective convention should be given an opportunity “to elect a leader of their choice.”
It stated: “In a democracy, no leader should be imposed on people. Democracy should be given a chance.”
Meanwhile, Chilima Movement national secretariat has said they are mobilising women as well as the youth to join it for change in the party.
“We will not relent. We will mobilise ourselves until Chilima heeds our call. We will make it loud and clear that we want Chilima to lead us, and not anyone else. We are tired with this current leadership,” Chilima Movement secretary for women Loyce Mponda said.
She was speaking at a meeting in Mzuzu which was attended by among others, DPP deputy regional governor (North) Afiki Mbewe, former Alliance for Democracy (Aford) regional chairperson Peter Mkandawire who joined the movement last week.
Mbewe, who is coordinator of the movement in the North, said the structures have been formed at regional, district and constituency levels.
Chilima Movement officials, Henry Matemba, the party’s regional organising secretary (South) and Ben Chidyaonga, the party’s national director of logistics have been in Mulanje constituencies to drum support Chilima to contest for the presidency at the convention.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :