Battle lines are drawn for a bruising contest within governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with individuals strategically positioning themselves in readiness for the party’s national convention during the first half of 2018.
All national governing council (NGC) positions will be up for grabs, including that of party president, although it is a foregone conclusion- President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is likely to stay at the helm of the party, automatically winning the DPP presidential ticket for next year’s tripartite elections.
Other positions, which are likely to be less scrambled for are those of ‘regional’ vice presidents, which sources say occupants are largely determined by President Mutharika.
There will be an epic battle in the Vice President for south but as things stand now, two ‘favourite’ vice presidents are Goodall Gondwe for the North and Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba for the central region. The two are also likely going to sail through at the national convention without much ado.
Ntaba has expressed confidence to return his position, saying he sees no one with leadership credentials to challenge him.
“The vice presidency in the DPP is more of a ceremonial position than influential. What will be most exciting will the battle for the position of secretary general. This is the most influential and powerful position in the DPP as it is in most of the major political parties,” said a source close to the DPP inner politics.
She told Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity that the incumbent DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey is likely to face tough competition as gurus in the party are lobbying each other ahead of the hotly-contested elective convention.
“The position of secretary general will be wide open,” said the source.
According to the source, Jeffrey is likely to face stiff competition from former DPP administrative secretary, Clement Mwale; former DPP secretary general and Speaker of National Assembly, Chimunthu Banda, former DPP secretary general and National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) director under DPP, Bintony Kutsaira, among others.
According to the source, among the three ‘hot contenders’, Mwale comes out tops because of his “impeccable educational and professional credentials as well as his unquestionable loyalty to the party”, among some strengths.
Mwale is holder of Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Chancellor College and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pebbles University in USA. He is currently studying for a PhD in Business Administration.
“He served as an administrator at the DPP national headquarters during the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s time. He was the custodian of all party data and operation at policy levels on a daily basis. At the time when DPP was in ‘wilderness’, he was the administrative secretary,” said the source.
On the other hand, Chimunthu Banda is also well educated with good political history and stability. He once served as secretary general of the DPP before he became Speaker of Parliament.
She said while Chimunthu Banda has a glittering political career, he is loathed within the DPP for allegedly conniving with former President Joyce Banda and her PP administration to prevent Peter Mutharika from becoming Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
“Chimunthu Banda competed against Mutharika at the DPP national convention in 2013 and lost. Full of bitterness, he announced that he retired from active politics. DPP membership would be at pains to elect someone who is retiring from retirement; who obviously still holds grudges against some sections of the party following his convention loss,” she opined.
Kutsaira is the allegedly the worst of all candidates for the SG position, according to the source’s analysis. She claimed Kutsaira dumped the DPP in 2012 when it was rumoured Bingu wa Mutharika had passed away “even before government had made an official announcement”.
“His chances are extremely slim. He may wish not to try it at all. He joined People’s Party to save his job as NIB director. He is simply selfish,” she claimed.
Jeffrey wa Jeffrey refused to be drawn into “petty politics”, claiming she is too busy growing the DPP’s membership “to engage in useless political battles”.
DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepo said they will seek nominations for all positions.
The country is expected to go for the second tripartite elections in May next year in what is expected to be a two-man battle between President Peter Mutharika, the DPP leader, and MCP president Lazarus Chakwera , who is also leader of opposition in Parliament.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :