No person has come out in the open or collected nomination forms to contest for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidency, leaving a room for Professor Peter Mutharika to go unchallenged, Nyasa Times has learnt.
DPP is expected to hold its convention in Lilongwe from 17th to 19th of April to elect its executive committee and formal coronation of Peter Mutharika as the party torch bearer for next year’s elections.
DPP spokesman, Nicholas Dausi, who is also the chairperson of the convention, told Nyasa Times in an interview that Mutharika, currently, has no challenger despite media reports insinuating some top officials include Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda and Henry Mussa will contest.
“There is no person who has come out to collect the nomination forms or challenge for the president position aside from Professor Peter Mutharika. So he has no challenger for the post,” said Dausi.
Dausi said the party is set to hold the convection to the tune of K56 million (about $140 000) despite the party president and other top officials currently answering treason charges at Lilongwe High Court in relation to alleged plot to stop President Joyce Banda from ascending to power soon after former President late Bingu wa Mutharika died in office last April.
“We expect to get all nomination papers a week before the convention. As of now I can’t not comment as to who else is competing for the party presidency closing,” he said.
Chimunthu-Banda could not be reached for comment but the party’s Secretary General, Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza has told the local media the venue for the convention might changed from Lilongwe to Blantyre depending on the decision by the party’s executive committee.
Meanwhile, Mutharika, 74, is holding whistle-stop tours across the southern region to sell out his candidature and if he is elected at the convention, he will battle it out against UDF’s Atupele Muluzi, 34, and PP’s Joyce Banda, 62, to take over the mantle of the country’s leadership.
Mutharika together with some other DPP top officials which include Dausi, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Henry Mussa, Patricia Kaliati and Symon Vuwa Kaunda were arrested and charged with treason two weeks ago.
Others who were also arrested are former Economic and Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe, and former Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Bright Msaka.
But DPP’s parliamentary leader Dr George Chaponda said the treason charges on seven of its prominent members have not in any way disturbed their preparations for the convention.
“Remember even in Kenya, the president-elect Uhuru [Kenyatta] was allowed to contest and won the elections despite being under charges by the International Criminal Court [ICC] in Hague,” said Chaponda, a highly trained lawyer.
During the convention, DPP members are expected to elect the party’s president who will also be its presidential candidate in 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :