President Peter Mutharika has hit back at critics of his administration branding them as ‘Pharisees’ who want him out of government, challenging that he is not politically shake ahead of May 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The President spoke at the official opening of the 30th Malawi International Trade Fair in Blantyre which was turned into a political rally for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Mutharika said some DPP members want to destroy the party and make it lose the elections.
He vowed not to disappoint those endorsing him to be DPP torchbearer in the polls, claiming that there are sell-outs in the DPP that want to destroy the party.
Mutharika said in Chichewa: “Ena akufuna kundiopseza ine koma sindingaope munthu aliyense ayi. Inu ndi ine tachoka kutali. Ndipo ndikukulonjezani kuti sindizakusiyani chifukwa inunso sumungandisiye (Some People want to intimidate me, but with you by my side, I will not fear. We have come a long way and my promise to you is that I will never abandon you because you can never leave me alone.)
The President continued that those demanding him not to contest for a final mandatory term are ‘Pharisees’ who are being misguided by opposition parties.
Pharisees, according to the Holy Bible, served as Jesus Christ’s persecutors and foils. The New Testament portrays Jesus as endlessly compassionate, self-sacrificial and free-spirited. As literary characters, the Pharisees, by contrast, are small-minded, self-righteous and legalistic.
Mutharika, 79, is facing an unprecedented resistance, for an incumbent eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution, from a section of his governing DPP lobbying for the candidacy of Vice-President Saulos Chilima, 45.
Former first lady Callista Mutharika—widow of DPP founding president and the incumbent President’s elder brother, Bingu wa Mutharika—sparked the succession debate weeks ago when she said her in-law should pave the way for the comparatively youthful and energetic Chilima widely seen as a hands-on and results-oriented leader after he vibrantly led the Public Sector Reforms Programme that has lost steam since it was moved from his domain.
But Mutharika on Thursday said those calling him to retire are just wasting their time because he will seek a new mandate in 2019 to stay in power for the last five years.
“This is not the first time for some people trying to kill DPP. At first they proposed to impeach President Bingu wa Mutharika, when Bingu died, 123 out of 156 MPs fled, We were left with only 33. but they failed and this time they are against me but they will not succeed at all,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika’s remarks were punctuated by chants from DPP supporters of “Achoke! Achoke! [Let the critics leave the party].
The event was meant to focus on the private sector that is operating in poor economic environment amid continued power cuts.
However, Mutharika and his DPP supporters coloured the function with speeches against a faction that is calling for leadership change in the ruling party.
It all started with the director of ceremony, Hope Chisanu, a radio personality for taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, who led DPP supporters in cheering President Mutharika.
And then the notorious DPP’s regional governor for the southern region, Charles Mchacha, took to the podium with political messages of praise to Mutharika.
He condemned leaders of the ongoing leadership debate in the party as well as blaming opposition political parties of having a hand in the wrangles currently rocking the DPP.
“Oyipa wasikila ku DPP [the devil has descended in DPP]. But we know that all who are doing this are opposition’s agents. They want to frustrate us but they will yield nothing, because people from Karonga to Nsanje are behind President Mutharika,” said Mchacha.
Mchacha went further to declare that President Mutharika will go unopposed at the party convention scheduled for this year ahead of the 2019 polls.
He said there is no government without political party, hence making political remarks at a State function.
“People should understand that there is no government without a political party and a party that formed government in 2014 is DPP,” said Mchacha.
Minister of Trade, Henry Mussa, who is also DPP treasurer general, also led the crowd filled with supporters in chanting slogans of praise for Mutharika before giving credit to the President for allegedly developing the country.
Chilima has remained silent on calls for him to vie for the presidency. He did not attend the opening of the fair.
There is divided opinion on the DPP 2019 torchbearer with some officials openly pushing for Chilima’s candidacy and others declaring Mutharika will go unopposed at the convention.
Mutharika has personally declared that he will lead DPP in the elections, saying fielding a different candidate would oust the party from power.
.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :