There was joyful noise during the official opening of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elective convention at Comesa Hall in Blantyre yesterday.
An estimated 1 500 delegates started arriving at the venue as early as 6.30am. Final touches to the décor were still being made.
There was heavy presence of police. About 100 of them were deployed both inside and outside the hall.
Entry into the hall was strictly by confirmation of valid accreditation facilitated by the organising committee.
The convention was scheduled to start at 9am with President Peter Mutharika scheduled to arrive at 10am, as per the official programme circulated.
Mutharika got to the venue at 10.29am amid deafening cheers from delegates in the hall.
Some of the women seated on the sidewalks had babies strapped on their backs.
The clergy comprising presidential adviser on religious affairs Apostle Timothy Khoviwa, Blantyre CCAP Synod moderator the Reverend Masauko Mbolembole, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika of Muslim Association of Malawi and Reverend Father Kantembe of Limbe Catholic Cathedral led in prayer.
Diplomats, including United States of America (USA) Ambassador Virginia Palmer and representatives from Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and China, were also present.
DPP dance women, known as Sendera Sisters, kept the delegates and the First Couple on their feet.
In his address, convention organising committee chairperson Nicholas Dausi described Mutharika as a passionate leader who has always been willing to serve the country.
He said Mutharika is a leader of integrity who fosters a spirit of coordination, contact and dialogue.
And in his opening address, Mutharika described the convention as the most democratic and transparent.
However, he said he was aware that some people were sponsored to vie for positions to destabilise DPP. He vowed to “crush” them.
Said Mutharika: “Those that have been sent and I know them. I will not let you get away with it. I will not let anyone destabilise the party.”
He concluded his address with an appeal to people to register and vote in next year’s tripartite elections.