The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has fired its deputy regional governor (North) Afiki Mbewe for openly supporting calls that Vice-President Saulos Chilima should lead the party in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
But Mbewe, who is among many DPP officials supporting proposals to have incumbent President Peter Mutharika pave the way for Chilima, has laughed off the action, saying he would sue the party for illegally removing him from the party.
Ironically, the party has not extended the same wrath to others championing the same cause, notably Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo and director of youth Louis Ngalande.
During a media briefing on Sunday afternoon at the party’s regional headquarters in Mzuzu, senior DPP officials in the region claimed that Mbewe did not seek anyone’s opinion to publicly support Chilima.
The officials included national campaign director Jappie Mhango (Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure), deputy secretary general Grace Chiumia (Minister of Civic Education), regional governor (North) Kenneth Sanga and national governing council (NGC) member Khwauli Msiska.
Msiska said they were excited that Mutharika has expressed interest to represent the party again in next year’s elections.
He said the leadership of the party in the Northern Region has resolved to support Mutharika, adding, they will work tirelessly to ensure that he gets more votes from the region.
On Mbewe, Msiska said they have resolved to remove him from the party because he is a ‘confusionist and a liar’.
He said: “Afiki Mbewe, by his own behavior has removed himself, not only from the leadership as deputy regional governor, but also from membership of the party. If he had any issues, he could have expressed his position in a forum like this one.”
But in an interview on Monday, Mbewe described his dismissal as illegal because he was duly elected during the 2014 convention unclike most of those who made the decision to fire him.
He said: “We will not relent. I am Team Chilima all the way and will make sure he gets that position. They can in no way intimidate me. ”
Reacting to the development, Kalindo said the tactics of intimidation as started by leaders in the party will not weaken them.
DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey said in an interview on Monday she was not aware of Mbewe’s firing.
She said: “Has he been fired? I am not aware of that and I am getting it from you. To fire someone you need the National Governing Council to meet, that person should also be summoned to a disciplinary committee.”
Political analyst George Phiri from the University of Livingstionia has warned that continued bickering in the DPP may end up killing the party.