Outspoken Mulanje West legislator Patricia Kaliati and her husband, Angie, member of Parliament (MP) for Mulanje Pasani, yesterday said there is genuine democracy in their home as they belong to different factions in the governing party.
Whereas the former, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) national director of women, is among the lead members of the so-called Chilima Movement canvassing for the presidential candidacy of Vice-President Saulos Chilima, her husband said he supports the incumbent President Peter Mutharika.
The couple spoke to The Nation yesterday 24 hours after DPP regional governor (South) Charles Mchacha publicly insulted Patricia Kaliati in the presence of her husband at a political rally President Peter Mutharika addressed at Limbuli in Mulanje on Saturday.
Mchacha, who asked Angie to stand up at the rally, went personal with Patricia Kaliati, stating that Angie married a foolish woman who does not respect her husband.
Yesterday, Angie, who asked DPP members to desist from insulting their colleagues, said there is democracy in his family and that every family member is free to make a choice.
He said: “If we are doing politics it means we are matured people and I am not young. This is what we call democracy. Every person has his or her choice.
“I did not choose to go where my wife is because we have different constituencies and I am doing what people from my constituency want, so is my wife. That is her choice and I also have my choice.”
Patricia Kaliati,on her part, said she respects the decision of her husband to support Mutharika.
But she said the personal attacks on her were testimony that she was giving DPP leadership sleepless nights. She described the attacks as a waste of resources and time, asking the DPP to fight opposition parties instead.
Said Patricia Kaliati: “When you fail to defeat an opponent, you just insult him or her. This is a clear indication that they are afraid of me and it’s a waste of time.
“If they [DPP] are afraid of me, a mere mosquito which has not started biting, what if Chilima starts addressing Malawians on his candidature?”
Mchacha’s attack on Patricia Kaliati came a day after the Mulanje West legislator accused him of masterminding Friday’s protest march against her and Angie in Mulanje.
Our sister newspaper, Weekend Nation, reported on Saturday that a handful of protesters clad in DPP-branded T-shirts and party cloth on Friday marched from Chitakale Trading Centre to the District Commissioner’s office in Mulanje to present a petition against the Kaliatis.
But Mchacha denied knowledge of the Friday demonstrations.
Yesterday, Angie said it was unfortunate some people in his constituency mistook him for a pro-Chilima sympathiser.
Mchacha could not be drawn into commenting yesterday as his phone was out of reach.
Patricia Kaliati on Thursday led the so-called Chilima Movement, a faction of DPP national governing council (NGC) members and legislators pushing forward Chilima’s name for the party’s presidency. She described Mutharika as a clueless leader.
However, during the launch of the construction of the Lirangwe-Chingale-Machinga Road in Blantyre held simultaneously with the Chilima Movement briefing, Mutharika branded his critics as cowards.
The protest against Patricia Kaliati came weeks after the DPP office in Mulanje organised protests against Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo who is also an open supporter of Chilima.
Mutharika is facing an unprecedented resistance for an incumbent—eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution—from some DPP members canvassing for Chilima’s candidacy.
Former first lady Callista Mutharika—widow of Bingu who was the incumbent President’s elder brother—sparked the succession debate weeks ago when she said her in-law, 79, should pave the way for the comparatively youthful and energetic Chilima, 45.
Besides Kaliati and Kalindo, several DPP NGC members and legislators, including Noel Masangwi (Blantyre City East and NGC member), Allan Ngumuya (Blantyre City South), Malison Ndau (Ntcheu Central), Paul Chibingu (Mwanza West), national director of youth Louis Ngalande and suspended deputy regional governor (North) Afiki Mbewe have openly supported Chilima’s candidacy. n