They say the early bird eats the first worm. If the mammoth crowd that came to attend last Sunday’s DPP rally is anything to go by, then other possible contenders for the party’s presidential candidacy better think twice, or even thrice. Prof. Peter Mutharika drew another sea of crowds in Lilongwe, as he set the ideological tone for what is expected to be an intense and competitive presidential and parliamentary election in 2014.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held this historic public rally at Mgona ground in Area 25, Lilongwe – during which the party’s interim leader Peter Mutharika again intensified his party’s efforts to reconnect with the Malawian polity.
A political analyst at the rally contended that Mutharika is doing two crucial things simultaneously, which demonstrate he is a cunning political operator. He observed that Peter is successfully branding himself as an independent politician, whilst rescuing some of his late brother Bingu wa Mutharika’s legacy.
The second observation is that the rising costs of living as a result of devaluation of Malawi Kwacha have hit families hard, and Peter is pointing out that the government is busy celebrating ‘successes’ when life is becoming increasing expensive.
Setting himself apart from his brother, Peter repeated his simple message on his candidacy: That the DPP is going to organise a convention – and encouraged other competitors to come forward.
“By playing the transparency card, it will be difficult to accuse Peter of being undemocratic like his late brother,” observed another commentator who attended the rally.
Peter’s confidence was all over his lips.
“If I am elected a DPP presidential candidate I will ensure we get back into government, however if another candidate is elected at the convention I will give him or her my full support,” he assured.
Importantly, Peter took time to thank Malawian media organizations for providing an accurate and objective coverage of his rally in Thyolo.
He acknowledged that the past relationship between his DPP and the media has not been rosy –he expressed regret and immediately appealed for reconciliation between media organizations and all political parties for positive democracy.
His remarks comes after the DPP regime was hell bent on attacking the country’s media and even passing legislation to suppress freedom of expression.
But Mutharika, in a speech that lasted 12 minutes, apologised for DPP’s contemptuous treatment of journalists, saying he was keen to ensure good rapport with the media.
“From now onwards I would like to work with all media outlets in the country,” he said.
Mutharika, a law expert, mentioned reputable private media outlets which he said are essential for democracy.
“At this time, I want to thank The Nation and The Daily Times for coverage of the last rally [in Thyolo]. This is time to bury hatchets and work together. Whether you are The Nation, Zodiak, The Daily Times, Capital Radio, Nyasa Times, Malawi Voice or Malawi Democrat, let us work together,” said Mutharika.
“I appreciate the fact that media organizations are vital in a democracy,” he said.
He however wondered why MBC television which is a public station was not showing his rallies.
Sunday’s rally was visibly attended by thousands more people in comparison to the Thyolo rally. From Saturday, Lilongwe experienced rejuvenated DPP supporters, who seemed to have disappeared in the last three months.
During the rally, the supporters were seen wearing new DPP party clothes; and numerous party and private vehicles were seen driving around Lilongwe, demonstrating that the party is still a force to reckon with, but more crucially for 2014, that the party has enough resources to finance their campaign.
The rally was also patronised by the party’s current and shadow members of parliament.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :