Leader of opposition in Parliament and estranged former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa has played down the drafting in former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor Dalitso Kabambe into the party’s presidential race to replace its president Peter Mutharika.
Kabambe will face Nankhumwa, Bright Msaka [DPP vice-president for the Eastern Region] and former minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha in the race for the party’s president at the yet to be announced convention.
But Nankhumwa, who has all along be regarded as a front runner, said it is Kabambe’s democratic right to join the party and, if he wishes, to contest on any position.
Nankhumwa said in quotes reported by Malawi News that Kabambe used the party structures to head into mainstream politics as he made arrangements with the national organising secretary Chimwemwe Chipungu that he should be formally welcomed in the party at DPP Southern Region headquarters in Sunnyside, Blantyre where he was accompanied by his wife Bridget and mother Annie.
Said Nankhumwa: “It is his democratic right to contest on any position he wishes, and I believe that as time passes by, a lot of people will join the race.”
Nankhumwa said he has read reports on social media that Kabambe is a preferred choice of Mutharika as his successor but said DPP delegates to the elective convention hold the power to vote and their will shall be respected.
“All I know is people will have their democratic right to choose. The reports that someone has been anointed or not, that does not hold water at all because delegates at the convention will decide not an individual,” said Nankhumwa in quotes reported by Malawi News.
DPP regional governor (South)Charles Mchacha dismissed suggestions that Mutharika had endorsed Kabambe as his successor, saying the former head of State will ensure a level playing field and let the best candidate win at the convention.
Nankhumwa claimed his relationship with Mutharika remains “cordial” as it has always been.
On the other hand, Msaka, who is chairing DPP’s Functional Review Committee, could not be reached for comment.
At a ceremony welcoming Kabambe, some DPP youths were seen wearing T-shirts with Kabambe’s portrait emblazoned on the chest and a caption ‘DK2025’ apparently standing for Dalitso Kabambe 2025.
DPP lost in the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election to the nine-party Tonse Alliance led by MCP president Lazarus Chakwera who partnered Mutharika’s then estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima of UTM Party on the presidential ticket.
Peter Mutharika took over the leadership of DPP after the death of his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012, propelling the party to victory in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :