President Peter Mutharika has rejected claims made by his second in command, Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima , that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could not have won the 2014 polls without him on the ballot paper.
Chilima said on Saturday at a UTM rally at Chule Primary School in Dedza in reaction to sentiments from the governing DPP that he is ungrateful. He argued that it is the DPP that is unappreciative of his role in the 2014 polls.
The VP said the DPP used to come to him many times in 2014 pleading with him to take up the running mate position while he was working with Airtel as its chief executive officer.
“I helped them and they won. What they are saying now is just noise in my ears,” he said, adding that this time around, he will concentrate on selling UTM and his candidature so that UTM gets into government.
But President Muntharika has since dismissed the claims during a stop-over meeting in Kasungu on his way to Mzuzu, saying he was the one desperate to be Mutharika’s running-mate.
Mutharika claimed that he once chased away Chilima after he sneaked into Mutharika’s house at Area 10 to discuss the running-mate issue way before the party settled for him. He claimed someone, who he did not disclose his identity, tipped Chilima that he was on the list of 15 potential people being considered running-mate.
“Someone leaked that to him and the next thing he was at my gate in Area 10 to discuss the running-mate issue. I asked what is he doing here? I refused to meet him. I chased him away,” claimed Mutharika.
Mutharika said Chilima only got the position after he and others settled to have someone from the private sector as running-mate.
The President also called on Chilima to stop boasting that he was behind DPP’s victory in 2014, saying he was only with the party for six months and the areas where he campaigned in the Central Region DPP performed miserably
He said the DPP won because it laid a proper ground work ahead of the polls and that it will win again without Chilima.
“Other political parties warned me about making this stop here in Kasungu, saying that they own the district and that no one will welcome me but am really impressed as you still have trust in me and DPP,” said Mutharika.
President Muntharika then assured people of his commitment to develop the country and ending poverty through programmes such as Social cash transfer and the Malata,Cement subsidy initiative.
Government is accusing Chilima of practicing opposition politics while serving in a government position.
The fallout between Chilima and his boss Peter Mutharika follows the VPs dumping the ruling party and is leading new party UTM in whose ticket he will be bidding for the presidency during next year’s elections.
The two sides have been at loggerheads trading accusations on corruption, among others.
Muntharika is expected to attend a graduation ceremony of the University of Livingstonia on Saturday at Mzuzu Stadium.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :