Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Greselder Jeffrey on Saturday challenged the party’s membership in the Northern Region to produce a DPP presidential candidate in 2024.
In her remarks during an official government function to launch phase eight of the Malawi Rural Electrification Project (Marep) in Mzimba District which turned into a political event to welcome Mzimba Hora member of Parliament (MP) the Reverend Christopher Mzomera Ngwira to DPP, Jeffrey asked people in the Northern Region to produce a DPP president in 2024.
The call was an apparent U-turn from earlier ‘tribalistic’ remarks attributed to her in Karonga recently where she is said to have declared that the Northern and Central regions will never produce the country’s president, but remain hand clappers for a leader from the Southern Region.
Said Jeffrey: “Some people have been claiming that I insulted people from the Northern Region, but I did not.”
She said President Peter Mutharika’s 20-member Cabinet comprises three from the Northern Region, notably Goodall Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development), Jappie Mhango (Transport and Public Works) and Grace Chiumia (Home Affairs and Internal Security) besides having several top officials, including principal secretaries.
Said Jeffrey: “I call upon the [Northern] region to rally behind President Peter Mutharika because he has you in mind. Let him rule till 2024, from there, we would choose another president from the party, possibly from the Northern Region.”
In his remarks, Ngwira, hitherto one of the fierce critics of Mutharika and his DPP administration in his capacity as People’s Party (PP) regional governor (North), was expelled from PP for allegedly defying the party leadership by imposing former State vice-president as PP acting president in the absence of its founding president Joyce Banda.
He described himself as a “prodigal son” who has returned to his “dad”. Ngwira was among DPP members who dumped the party soon after the death of then president Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5 2012 and joined PP.
The Marep launch turned into a party event when DPP officials decided to change the venue of the function from Ngomiyawo to Bulala Primary School ground in the area. Government officials lined up to speak as per the official programme were not given the platform.
Instead, speeches were made by DPP regional governor Kenneth Sanga, Jeffrey, Ngwira and Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Msaka: “The party did not take over the function. I came over on the ticket of government same as the district commissioner.”
The Marep project aims to connect electricity to rural areas to stimulate development. n