Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interim president Peter Mutharika has welcomed Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda’s bid for the party president at the forthcoming convention, saying DPP is a democratic party.
Mutharika, widely believed to be the front runner of the race, said he is “excited” that he has a “formidable challenger”, saying the contest will render credibility to the DPP convention.
“There will be no imposition but a contest. It’s healthy for intra party democracy,” said Mutharika.
Chimunthu Banda also said that being a one-time DPP secretary general in 2009, he is “tried and tested in as far as management of party affairs are concerned.”
DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi, who is also convention organising committee chairperson, said Chimunthu’s move is an indication that “there is healthy democracy in the party.”
He said: “In a democracy, people are free to contest for any position in a political party.”
Dausi, however, said the party has not yet started receiving nominations from aspirants for various positions at the convention whose venue is yet to be decided.
Before Chimunthu Banda’s announcement, it was only Mutharika who had declared his interest to contest for the party’s leadership and to lead the party in the 2014 presidential elections.
On Chimunthu Banda’s fears that the convention organising committee handpicked Mutharika, hence he would have an unfair advantage, Dausi said those were unfair allegations because every person who wants to contest knows all the committee members.
Meanwhile, University of Malawi political science professor at Chancellor College in Zomba, Blessings Chinsinga said Chimunthu’s decision to challenge Mutharika makes the scheduled Apriln17 DPP convention “credible and exciting.”
“Chimunthu-Banda could be said to be a people-person because of his political stature and maturity, while the Peter Mutharika is a people-person in the sense that he was handed the leadership crown by his late brother. And also because of the resources that his late brother left him,” the political analyst said on Zodiak Broadcasting Service
According to Chinsinga, Malawi’s “political culture is characterized by patronage and resources play a role.”
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