AÂ leadership bombshell has hit Malawiâ€™s former ruling DPP. A group within the party is demanding the removal of acting president Peter Mutharika, arguing he does not have a good track record for that office.
The group, describing itself as â€˜concerned Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officialsâ€™ and led by a Harvey Nampinga, has written the partyâ€™s secretary general (SG) asking him to act on their demand to elect a new leader pending a convention.
The group is also demanding that the party accounts be audited by an independent auditor and that the more than K270 million (about $1.08 million) raised at the College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre last year be handed over to the party. The group says all donations amounting close to K8 billion (about $32 million) be surrendered to the finance committee of the party chaired by Dr George Chaponda.
According to the letter, the new leader should be elected among the partyâ€™s three vice-presidents: Goodall Gondwe, Jean Kalirani and Yunus Mussa. They have also proposed Chaponda, arguing that Mussaâ€™s membership in the party is not stable.
When contacted for comment, DPP SG Wakuda Kamanga referred the matter to party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who said he had not yet seen the petition; hence, could not say anything.
â€˜Peter does not have a good track recordâ€™
The concerned DPP group argues, among other things, the appointment of Mutharika was made in haste and the Cabinet that chose him had no mandate. It said, after all, half of the team has defected.
Reads the letter: â€œIt is obvious that Professor Mutharika does not have a good track record as a Cabinet minister in the country. Looking at the way campaigns are conducted and planned, itâ€™s important that we find a solution by means of electing a person who can at least boast of his or her achievements in public.
â€œProfessor Mutharika is associated with the change of the national flag when he was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
â€œIn addition, the presentation of bills that were deemed irrelevant and in bad taste…were enacted into law during his tenure.â€
The letter also refers to last yearâ€™s academic freedom saga, in which Mutharika â€œnever made an effort to sort out the problem.â€
The group fears this would work against the DPP during the 2014 campaign as people would still have fresh memories of these events.
The group has called for a convention to iron out the confusion created by Peter Mutharikaâ€™s appointment following the death of his brother Bingu on April 5.
He has since declared his interest to represent the party in 2014 as its presidential candidate.
The DPP acting president could not be reached for comment.