The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Peter Mutharika will soon launch its manifesto for 2019-2024 ahaead of May 21 watershed polls. Nyasa Times senior reporter Green Muheya had a chat with the party vice-president in the Southern Region. Kondwani Nankhumwa, on the launch and other issues.
Nyasa Times: The DPP will soon launch its manifesto for 2019-2024. What should Malawians expect from the new blueprint?
Nankhumwa: In 2014, the DPP made a solemn pledge to improve the social economic status of Malawians through a comprehensive and 360 degrees improvement in all sectors of the economy; a restructuring of governance systems and improvement in the rule of law. This was a social contract between us and Malawians in which the objectives are clear.
Malawians have seen and can testify on how DPP has been steadfast on its promises. Malawian have seen the progress that our government has made in ensuring development across all sectors of the economy such as education, health, infrastructure development, energy development, women empowerment, etc. Our manifesto launch will, therefore, not be an isolated incident; it will be a continuous tasking between DPP and Malawians to reflect on where we are on this journey. Malawians should thus expect a more energized DPP with a more practical manifesto, which is based on experience and reflects what we have done and how we plan to continue improving lives of Malawians.
Nyasa Times: We have seen some two surveys that have tipped the DPP to win the presidency and reasonable number of seats in Parliament. Should these opinion polls be believed?
Nankhumwa: There is a lot of evidence that we have delivered on our promises as DPP. This can be seen in how the economy is performing; how farmers are able to access farm inputs through our subsidy programme; how we have allowed greater access to primary education through our friendly policies and revamped the governing framework of the University system in this country. Malawians are able to see how we have been able to turn around the fortunes of this country from the downwards spiral of 2014 to a steadily ticking economy in just four years and at zero direct government support.
As much there are always challenges that we need to surmount as government, Malawians are able to see how we have performed. They have confidence in the DPP government and they know it is only the DPP government, which is capable of sustaining this path of socio-economic development. I am, therefore, not surprised if the polls are saying we are slated to win the presidency and parliament. I am not surprised and yes, I believe in those polls.
Nyasa Times: The DPP seemed to have disappointed some candidates at the primaries. Those who failed proceeded to register as independents. The DPP will be competing against its own members who have turned independents. This should be the cause for worry, right?
Nankhumwa: I do not think it is correct to say that DPP disappointed some candidates at primary election. You see, DPP is a big democratic institution, with a well elaborated intra-party framework to address various issues including conflicts. One of the processes is that any candidate (s) wishing to stand on the party’s ticket whether as an MP or councillor has to contest in the primary elections. Primaries are a competition and you can testify that you always have someone to complain in a competition, it is normal.
This is also the reason why we made sure that our primaries were a fair process of integrity to minimize having a lot of independent candidates but that does not mean we did not anticipate that there will still be independent candidates. Yes, it is always a worrying situation to have one of your own turn against you but the candidates that won our primaries did so based on their popularity and strength on the ground and we believe that will also reflect on how we will perform come May 21.
Nyasa Times: Malawians expected the DPP was going to form an electoral pact with the UDF, probably to see UDF’s Atupele Muluzi being running mate to President Peter Mutharika. What happened for the young Muluzi not to be part of the DPP arrangement?
Nankhumwa: Alliances or pacts, as you call them, are always integral to politics and often key to political strategy. As a party, DPP has always been open to political partnerships and alliances with other like-minded political parties based on prevailing larger objectives. However, that having been said, we do not just sign pacts or enter into political alliances just for the sake of it. DPP is a very strategic political party, which assesses every situation based on its individual merit.
We enjoyed a working relationship with UDF over the last four years in a fruitful partnership, which clearly delivered results. However, we always make decisions in politics, and DPP made a decision just like the UDF did, on our working partnership, particularly in lieu of the presidency and running-mate. So here we are. But anything can happen in politics; you never know.
Nyasa Times: Are you happy the way Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has conducted itself so far: registration of six million plus voters, presentation of presidential, parliamentary and local government candidates?
Nankhumwa: We have not found any major problems with MEC so far that we can complain about. We have confidence in the organization and we know it is doing all it can to ensure that we have a fair and credible election on May 21. We expect them to sustain this level of work rate to avoid losing the trust of its stakeholders.
Nyasa Times: What is your piece of advice to your supporters?
Nankhumwa: We want to assure our supporters that the DPP will not let them down. We want to assure them that we will always remain faithful to our single-minded vision and focus to deliver this country out of poverty; so that we continue to attain a rounded growth of all sectors and uplift livelihoods for all Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :