Embattled former president Peter Mutharika has mended fences with his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey for publicly calling for his retirement and an early convention.
The development effectively means that Jeffrey, who the DPP central committee on August 27 2020 recommended that she should be disciplined for her public utterances, will not be attending the hearing.
During that meeting, Mutharika told the committee that Jeffrey’s remarks in the media offended him; hence, he did not want her to attend the meeting at his beachside home in Mangochi.
But barely a month later the two met at Mutharika’s house in Mangochi to iron out the issues and DPP vice-president (North) Goodall Gondwe acted as a witness.
Said the source: “That matter is now concluded. The SG will not be attending the disciplinary hearing. The two [Mutharika and Jeffrey] met in the presence of Gondwe and the matter was resolved amicably. What just remains is the issue of [DPP vice-president [South] Kondwani Nankhumwa.”
In an interview yesterday, Jeffrey was elusive and demanded to know the source of the information about her meeting with Mutharika.
However, she said she engages Mutharika at any given point as her father.
Said Jeffrey: “Maybe you should ask those people [the sources]. They seem to have more information than myself. Mutharika is my father, we talk and I don’t have any problems with him.”
But Gondwe, in a separate interview, confirmed that the meeting took place and that he acted as a witness to the discussion.
He said he did not have full details of the outcome as he did not take part in the discussion.
Said Gondwe: “I was there to be a witness as they were talking, but I did not take part in the discussion. It is true that I was there.
“I wouldn’t know the outcome of the discussion, but they decided that they will continue to be together. I hope you will reflect well what I have just said.”
Jeffrey stepped on raw nerves when she told The Nation that Mutharika—who lost the court-ordered fresh presidential election on June 23 to President Lazarus Chakwera—had done his part and that DPP needed a new person to lead it into the future.
Four people are in contest for the presidency of the party once a convention is called. The four aspirants, according to our sources, are Mutharika’s three vice-presidents Uladi Mussa, Nankhumwa and Bright Msaka (Eastern Region) and the party’s disciplinary committee chairperson George Chaponda.
DPP publicity secretary Brown Mpinganjira earlier indicated that on October 31, the Functional Review Committee, headed by Msaka, will present its report on the party’s direction, and the leadership will meet to discuss it and matters relating to the convention.
In an earlier interview, Mustapha Hussein, political and administrative studies lecturer at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said by feeling offended, Mutharika was showing signs of political intolerance. He said DPP needed to immediately put its house in order.
On his part, political analyst Ernest Thindwa, who also teaches at Chancellor College, argued Jeffrey’s remarks were not offensive, and the decision to summon her to a disciplinary hearing is undemocratic, and must not be condoned.
Peter Mutharika took over the leadership of DPP after the death of his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, in April 2012. He led the party to victory in the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.