Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential hopeful Henry Chimunthu Banda has advised his competitor, Peter Mutharika, and the party’s regional governor (South) Noel Masangwi not to divide the party on regional basis.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Chimunthu Banda said following last week’s comments by Masangwi and Eastern Region governor Charles Jika that the two regions were going to support Mutharika’s candidacy at the party’s convention, he telephoned the two and advised them not to practise regional politics.
Chimunthu Banda, who is also Speaker of the National Assembly, said: “I did not stop there, I also telephoned Professor Mutharika and advised him that such comments by the two are divisive and cannot build the party.
“Professor Mutharika agreed with me that the remarks were unfortunate. People should not say they will not support me because of the region I come from.”
He said his sympathisers, including some members of the clergy, asked for a meeting with him in the capital, Lilongwe where they complained of the regional politics.
Chimunthu Banda said he informed them that he had taken an initiative and talked to the officials concerned.
The Nkhotakota North legislator said he also informed the meeting that as per his research on the ground, the remarks by the two regional governors were their personal views.
Chimunthu Banda said some people in the former ruling party are unsettled with his declaration to challenge Mutharika, declaring that all things being equal, he is going to emerge victorious at the convention scheduled to take place from April 17 to 19.
He dismissed remarks by Masangwi that Mutharika had more resources to run a campaign than him, arguing the party is being funded by individuals.
Chimunthu Banda said: “It is not my wish for us to be arguing in newspapers, but because of such careless remarks, I am being compelled to respond.
“In any case, should we seriously vote for someone because they have resources? My view is we would rather vote for someone with potential to mobilise resources, I can challenge that I have that potential.”
Issue of resources
He said the resources Masangwi was talking about include vehicles that are registered in DPP’s name.
Masangwi, who admitted receiving a phone call from the Speaker, said in an interview on Sunday that Chimunthu Banda must come to the party in good faith and with clean hands.
The regional governor alleged that Chimunthu Banda was using some MPs to accuse the party that it was hiding information in the run up to the convention.
But Chimunthu Banda laughed off Masangwi’s claims that he is using some MPs, arguing it was clear to every member that the party is hiding information.
Masangwi further said he maintains his views that the South is for Mutharika, arguing it is the consensus of members in the region and not his personal views.
He added that Chimunthu Banda had nothing to do with the party after the demise of president Bingu wa Mutharika in Àpril last year until things started shaping up.
Chimunthu Banda laughed off the claims and dismissed them as untrue.