Malawi’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Campaign Director, Kondwani Nankhumwa, is on a mission to sideline Vice President Saulos Chilima from taking part in any elections activity of the party up to 2019.
Chilima has been a no-show in almost all activities in the run up to October 17 by-elections in three constituencies and three wards in Lilongwe, Dedza, Blantyre and Nsanje. On very few occasions that the Veep has been visible is only when he accompanied President Peter Mutharika to Kaliyeka in Lilongwe but was still not on the list of speakers.
Few months back Chilima was entrusted with overseeing DPP’s by-election campaign in Mchinji whose result came out negative for the party’s candidate. It is from that loss that Nankhumwa vowed never to give Chilima another chance labelling him a political novice.
Though reasons for Chilima’s recent sidelining are not in the public domain, sources within the DPP say Nankhumwa has openly told his close friends and family that he is likely to succeed President Mutharika in 2024 hence the need for him to get rid of anyone who stands a similar chance.
It is becoming more clearer now that Mutharika is likely to maintain Chilima as his running mate, a move Nankhumwa vehemently opposes.
Nankhumwa recently told a group of chiefs in the Southern Region that President Mutharika has promised him to take over DPP’s leadership in 2022 thereby making him a candidate for Presidency two years later.
He, however, denies such political schemes.
“It is not true,” he asserted
But the Mulanje Central parliamentarian has grown to become the most powerful within Mutharika’s cabinet such that he facilitates downfall of others. Some of his victims include George Chaponda, Peter Kumpalume and Malison Ndau.
Nankhumwa, who others are calling Prime Minister, is making sure to finish George Chaponda because he is a political giant in the Lomwe Belt and might be the right choice to lead the DPP after Mutharika.
Two months ago Nankhumwa mobilized his boys to stone Chaponda’s motorcade at Anti Corruption Bureau offices in Blantyre. The act was deliberate to give an impression that people in the Southern Region are out of favour with the former Agriculture Minister
Also a victim of Nankhumwa political posturing is marverick Patricia Kaliati who was sacked in cabinet.