Mutharika welcomes rebel MPs, DPP convention in November

Malawi’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Mutharika, says he is confident of being elected presidential candidate of former ruling Democratic Progressive party (DPP) at the party’s forthcoming convention and that he will steer DPP back into government in 2014 elections.

Mutharika was speaking when he addressed a political rally in Balaka on Sunday where he welcomed back parliamentarians who had dumped DPP to join the governing People’s Party.

He disclosed that DPP will hold a convention in November where all positions will be contested and that anyone seeking to contest with him for the party’s presidency was free to do so.

“It is the convention that will elect a presidential candidate and it is that conference where people can express their ideas,” said Mutharika.

He however expressed optimism that DPP members will give him the mantle to lead the party in the 2014 presidential race, saying he would offer the people of Malawi “renewal.”

During the rally, Mutharika welcomed MPs Steve Kamwendo (Bwanje North), Damson Chimalira (Ntcheu South), Everton Chimulirenji (Ntcheu North East) and Assani Lipande (Ntcheu North).

Others who rejoined DPP included Bofomo Immanuel Nyirenda (Mzimba Luwerezi), Shadreck Jonasi (Lilongwe City Central) and Francis Banda (Mchinji South West).

DPP has threatened that it will “vigorously pursue” Section 65 of the constitution which prohibits lawmakers from switching sides without a fresh mandate from the electorates.

Wishes PP ‘democratic convention’

If selected to run for presidency under the DPP banner, Peter Mutharika would likely face President Joyce Banda, who gets the mandate at her People’s Party convention on Monday in Blantyre.

Commenting on the PP convention, Mutharika said DPP which has been invited and would send a representative at the gathering, wished Banda’s party well.

He said holding a national convention was healthy for democracy in the country.

“The PP convention is for the benefit of our beautiful country. They invited us and we are going to send our representative,” said Mutharika.

“We are also going to invite them during our convention in November, this is democracy and modern politics at work,” he added.

This was Mutharika’s fourth rally since the death of his brother, president Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5 2012.

There were most DPP national governing council members and members of Parliament who included Goodall Gondwe, Jean Kalilani, George Chaponda, Henry Mussa, Patricia Kaliati and Yunus Mussa.

Others were Paul Chibingu, Christopher Ngwira and Kingsley Namankhwa.

Peter Mutharika welcoming prodigal MP
Crowds at Peter Mutharika's DPP rally in Balaka
DPP secretary general Wakuda Kamanga and Goodall Gondwe

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