Former president Peter Mutharika has come under intense fire for disregarding DPP rules and cut corners in his quest to install his cousin Dalitso Kabambe as party leader.
One of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopeful has expressed his hopelessness in the whole system of the election of party president, saying it has been hijacked by Mutharika and his cronies who want Kabambe installed as leader by hook and crook.
“The more it looks like an easy issue of a party choosing a presidential successor the more it appears to be heart-wrenching and complicated affair of so near and yet so far.
“At the very top and presiding over this headache is Peter Mutharika himself.
“On paper, the DPP is a political party with a brilliantly written succession framework, which includes the holding of regular elective conferences or conventions to elect its leaders and duty bearers to take the responsibility of managing the party,” says the DPP presidential aspirant who has asked not to be named yet in fear that he would be disqualified from the DPP presidential race.
He says this framework spells out various protocols that must be adhered to by those entrusted with managing the succession process to ensure fairness and integrity to the process.
Part of ‘ensuring integrity’ to the process entails putting neutral people without any vested interests into party organs such as convention committees, which ought to ensure free, transparent and fair conventions so that there are no misgivings from contesting candidates, he said.
He said the objective was meant to help entrench intra-party democracy in the party in tandem with the democratic environment under which DPP exist.
“However, there is a difference between having a brilliant document on paper and another thing following it through and implementing it to the letter.
“For the DPP, it seems having a brilliantly written constitution is as far as the party can go. The reality seems to be something akin to a badly staged political melodrama aimed at elongating a legacy that has outlived its welcome,” he said.
As president of DPP, the party presidential aspirant said, Mutharika is automatically chair of the party’s central executive committee responsible for making crucial decisions for the party including appointing members of the convention committee.
He says it will also be responsible for constituting the committee that will manage the forthcoming convention, which will choose his successor and the party’s torchbearer at the 2025 polls.
“To cut to the chase, by virtue of his position as DPP President and chairperson of central executive committee, Peter Mutharika is in a position to profoundly influence the choice of his successor.
“Now this is where things start getting interesting. There are several candidates that have shown interest to replace Mutharika as President of DPP at the next convention. So far, they include Kondwani Nankhumwa; Bright Msaka; Joseph Mwanamvekha and Dalitso Kabambe.
“Mutharika has clearly shown that he prefers his cousin and homeboy from Thyolo, Dalitso Kabambe to replace him as President of the party,” he said.
He said Kabambe – a political novice – joined DPP after he was fired from his job at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
Kabambe was immediately touted as serious presidential contender to replace Mutharika, and christened top dog; he was given the keys to the presidential enclave and told to hit the campaign trail right away to engage with delegates in reediness for the showdown at the convention,” said the disappointed DPP presidential aspirant.
He said it was clear from the onset he was a product of a scheme, which has the blessings of President Peter Mutharika.
The aspirant said Mutharika has not only shown preference for Kabambe, he has even demonstrated that he is prepared to tweak the system to give him ( Kabambe ) an unfair advantage over other contesting candidates.
“For example, whenever Kabambe appears to be ‘cornered’ on the campaign trail, the so-called ‘central executive committee’ has always rushed to his ‘rescue’ by bending the rules of engagement including stopping the other candidates from campaigning using incomprehensible aliases such as the convention is far away or ‘unity’.
“Mutharika has even opened his house in Mangochi and made it a beehive of meetings for Kabambe people to plot and scheme on how to stop the other candidates and put Kabambe on the throne.
“This is the reason why so many questions are flooding about whether the next DPP convention will be a free and fair process or just a stage-managed affair designed to install a chosen heir to the throne,” he said.
He said these questions are coming because the person who will play a crucial role in presiding over the system and the process of constituting the convention committee – President Peter Mutharika – has his own preferred candidate, his cousin Dalitso Kabambe.
“Now will the process be fair? Are we sure Mutharika will not bend the rules to give an advantage to his preferred candidate?
“What measures have been put in place to ensure that the next DPP convention is a fair process with integrity?” He asks.
He said these may appear not to be particularly vexing questions but the DPP has a scenario that must be solved with urgency to preserve its own future.
More importantly, he said, to ensure that there is peace after the convention and that the party does not split down the middle owing to convention differences.
“As it is now, all indications are that the DPP is heading headstrong into a dangerous convention precipice, which will most certainly spell its political apocalypse if it is not well managed.
“So many pundits have pointed out that APM must step down from his position as President of DPP and chairperson of its central executive committee, and that he must appoint someone neutral to oversee a free, credible and fair convention,” he said.
He said this is owing to the fact that he has shown clear bias towards one candidate, and chances are he will likely want to tweak the process to ensure that his preferred candidate triumphs at the convention.
The aspirant also said that it has also been pointed out that Mutharika appears not to be in full control of affairs in the party, saying since losing the June 23 presidential re-run, he has mostly been a recluse.
He said apart from meeting a few district governors, the DPP President has mostly stayed out of the picture preferring meetings only with a group calling itself ‘central executive’, but practically serving its own stakes, and the interests of Peter Mutharika.
Currently this group is only buying time waiting for Kabambe to get ready and comfortable on the campaign trail to announce a convention date, he said.
Some political commentators also think DPP is slowly but surely sliding into a cesspool of self-destruction if it lets Mutharika cut corners in his burning quest to install his cousin, Dalitso Kabambe, as president of the party.
They reckon Mutharika has failed to play the father figure to the party who must ensure that there is level playing field for all candidates to have equal chances at the presidency.
Said one of the country’s political commentators Goodwin Nyirenda: “As they say, if you think you are leading but you have no one following you, it means you are only taking a walk.
“Mutharika is only taking a walk, and having him presiding over the DPP at a crucial time of its convention could be equated to leaving a hyena to preside over matters of goats.
“Chances are the goats would be devoured.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :