There will always be suprises in politics, former first lady Callista Mutharika has said to confirm her stand in support of Vice-President Saulos Chilima to lead the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as presidential candidate in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Callista, the widow of DPP founding president Bingu wa Mutharika, said in interview monitored on Capital FM radio on Friday, she was of the opinion that it was Chilima who would be a better leader.
She said a group of like minded people who wants “a better Malawi” will force Chilima to contest for the hot seat.
The former first lady was confirming her sentiments through a WhatsApp forum for former members of Parliament (MPs) that Chilima was the country’s hope for a better future.
“There will always be suprises in politics,” Callista said similar to what former UK Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan once said.
Responding to a journalist when asked what is most likely to blow government off, Macmillan said “events dear boy events.”
The quote is repeated throughout Westminister till this day like a bible verse.
And Callista was on it emphatically.
“I am talking about the people of Malawi. I am talking about the17 million Malawians, I am representing those people,” she said in the Capital Radio’s interview.
Asked by the journalist what feedback she has got from her opinion to support Chilima, the former first lady said “it is very positive, because people understand why it has to be like that.”
Pressed to explain why she thinks DPP cannot win with President Mutharika as torchbearer, she said: “This is not the time for me to be talking about that, its not yet ripe for me. But time will come when not only about me but others in DPP will give you the reasons why we have to change to Saulos Chilima.”
Callista said she hasn’t met Chilima to discuss about him running for presidency.
“But we will force him, we will ask him to run for presidency because we feel that he is a better person than some of these people we are hearing about,” said Callista.
Asked if Chilima is ready to contest for the presidency, she said: “ I think so, he has the capacity to lead the country and he is a youthful person.”
Responding to a journalist question why she is not willing to support the incumbent President, who is her in-law, Callista said: “Should I be supporting somebody because she is part of my family. Who should I be supporting, an individual or the people of Malawi.”
There was no immediate comment from Presidemt Mutharika or the DPP but the comment clearly shows there division in the Mutharika family.
Office of the Vice-President press aide Pilirani Phiri also refused to comment on the matter.
University of Malawi’s political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the former first lady was simply expressing her opinion, probably based on her objective assessment of the situation in the governing party.
Callista grabbed headlines when she fought for Bingu wa Mutharika’s wealth with her step children.
Some sections of society blame her for ill advising Bingu during his second term of office which led to the former president increasingly becoming arrogant intolerance and dictatorial, a charge she denies.
Her comments come at a time when the country is commemorating the death of Bingu six years ago.
Callista claimed some DPP officials were shutting her up on the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :