Outspoken Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor (South) Noel Masangwi has declared that his region will support the candidature of interim leader Peter Mutharika for the party’s presidency at its forthcoming convention.
This effectively snubs Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda’s bid.
Masangwi’s Eastern Region counterpart, Charles Jika, said the party followers in the region have also decided to support Mutharika’s candidacy. Jika, however, said it was up to the new presidential hopefuls to sell themselves to the convention delegates.
Masangwi is also on record to have said Malawi was “not ready for a female president” when then Vice-President Joyce Banda was widely seen as positioning herself as the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s successor.
On the other hand, DPP regional governor (North) Nick Masebo said it was not a matter of coming up with a position as a region on who to vote for, but it would be up to the delegates to vote for a credible candidate.
Masangwi, while saying other candidates are welcome and free to join the race, said the Southern Region vouches its support for Mutharika because of his academic credentials and resources to vie for such a position.
He said the coming of Chimunthu Banda to contest against Mutharika for the party’s presidency and eventually lead the party in the 2014 presidential race was a welcome development and a blessing to the party.
But he doubted if Chimunthu Banda could outwit Mutharika at the convention scheduled to take place from 17 to 19 April 2013.
Masangwi said: “Professor Peter Mutharika is well known locally and internationally. As a party we have to look at their resources. Professor Mutharika has resources and can campaign to the last minute, but I doubt if honourable Chimunthu Banda has such resources.”
Jika said the party followers in the region met long time ago and made a decision that their candidate is Mutharika and that this stand has not changed.
Masebo, who is also Chitipa North Member of Parliament, said the region was going to support a credible candidate regardless of origins.
He said: “We will listen to them, they will have to tell us if they are worth our votes and we will go by that.”
In a related development, infighting in the party has ensued ahead of next month’s convention with some members accusing the leadership of hiding vital information.
But the party’s spokesperson and chairperson of the convention, Nicholas Dausi, rebutted the suggestions that the party was hiding information.
DPP legislator for Ntchisi North East, Geoffrey Mbuzi, said in an interview Tuesday that the party was not being transparent in as far as flow of information was concerned.
Mbuzi, who is aspiring for the position of secretary general, said unless there were other ill motives, there was no reason the party should be hiding vital information.
But Dausi dismissed the fears of ill motives by the leadership, arguing as chairman, he is only mandated by the party president and the governing council what to communicate to the members.