Peter Mutharika to launch ‘defiance’ campaign

Former Foreign Affairs minister and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP ) 2014 presidential candidate, Peter Arthur Mutharika, is this Sunday expected to kick-start the defiance campaign aimed at empowering people to rally against the Joyce Banda government.

Mutharika’s personal assistant, Ben Phiri, confirmed to Nyasa Times on Wednesday in a telephone interview that the presidential aspirant will hold a mass rally at Thyolo Community Centre Ground on Sunday.

Politics begins

Phiri said the official mourning of former president Bingu wa Mutharika in the DPP “is over and politics begins.”

Peter Mutharika with Ben Phiri: To start nationwide rallies

He said Mutharika will use the rally to thank people of the Southern Region for supporting his family and DPP during the bereavement of president Mutharika.

Phiri said Mutharika will set the tone for his political journey to seek election for presidency in 2014.

“Basically what we will be doing is to sensitise Malawians to know the state of the nation, they should know where they are at now,” he said.

Peter Mutharika, in his eulogy to Bingu on the day of his burial, assured DPP members that he will not abandon the party, but carry on from where his late brother left off.

Mutharika’s aide said they will also enlighten the villagers on the “devastating” impact that devaluation of the Kwacha by the current government has hit on the impoverished.

He said prices of commodities are skyrocketing, saying during the DPP regime the bag of staple food, maize at this time of the year was at K1, 500 but today is K3, 000.

Phiri also said Mutharika will condemn government for the security breakdown, pointing out that “it is worse than the Bakili Muluzi time.”

He also said Mutharika will defend the zero-deficit-budget concept, saying despite government banking on budgetary support, donors “are making pledges” and claimed that they are not giving out hard cash.

“We have not been told that we have received the money. We are operating on pledges,” Phiri said.

2014 route map

On the road to 2014 elections, Phiri said Mutharika will also inform the people that DPP will be holding a national convention to select a presidential candidate.

The party has never held a convention to elect office-bearers at any level since its formation in 2005.

“We will be talking about the convention because DPP believes in democracy, particularity the interim president believes in democracy,” he said.

Phiri disclosed that Mutharika will be holding the rallies across the country to drum up his support.

“This is the beginning of a campaign that Malawians have never ever seen in Malawi,” said Phiri.

“Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is ready, very ready to take the party to greater heights until we get back power in 2014, which we will,” the upbeat aide said.

Open contest

According to DPP secretary general Wakuda Kamanga, the party is embarking on a consultative process before calling for a national conference to elect office-bearers.

Kamanga said they would want the convention to be “democratic”, saying all positions will be open to contenders including that of the president despite that the DPP national governing council (NGC) unanimously appointed Peter Mutharika to lead the party after Bingu’s death

Critics argue that Mutharika is trying to remain relevant in politics.

They say for DPP to survive, it has to entrench democracy in its structure and discontinue closed-door endorsements.

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