Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has announced that it will soon hold a convention to elect a new national governing council (NGC) and replace the party president Peter Mutharika who has served two terms in line with the party’s constitution.
In a statement issued on Tuesday and signed by suspended DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, the party says the convention dates and venue will be announced after the necessary steps “including logistical arrangements and consultations with the top leadership of the DPP”.
Reads the statement: “The DPP would soon go to a national elective conference to elect NGC members, including the president of the party, who shall subsequently be the party’s presidential candidate in the 2025 Tripartite Elections.”
The announcement comes at a time the immediate-past governing party is rocked in internal wrangles. In July 2020, Jeffrey stepped on raw nerves when she suggested that the party was planning an elective convention to choose Mutharika’s successor following DPP’s loss in the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election. She said Mutharika had done his part; hence, needed to be replaced.
The development attracted the wrath of the DPP leadership who expelled some members from the party, namely DPP vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Jeffrey, treasurer general Jappie Mhango and Mulanje South legislator Yusuf Nthenda for alleged indiscipline. The expelled members in October challenged the decision in court.
Meanwhile, the party last week welcomed former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Dalitso Kabambe at an event in Blantyre. DPP regional governor Charles Mchacha said Kabambe had expressed interest to contest for the position of the party’s president at the convention which is yet to be set. Nankhumwa and Jeffrey did not attend the event.
Mchacha said Kabambe will join three other DPP heavyweights whose actions, he said, point to expression of interest to vie for the party’s presidency, namely Nankhumwa, Bright Msaka [DPP vice-president for the Eastern Region] and former minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha.
In an earlier interview, DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said the party’s members were at liberty to express themselves in relation to the presidency.
DPP was founded by Bingu wa Mutharika who served as Malawi’s president from 2005 to 2012 when he died of a cardiac arrest.
Peter Mutharika took over the leadership of DPP after the death of his brother, Bingu in April 2012, propelling the party to victory in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
DPP lost in the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election to the nine-party Tonse Alliance led by MCP president Lazarus Chakwera who partnered Mutharika’s then estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima of UTM Party on the presidential ticket.