Some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials yesterday met with people from Mulanje South West and Limbuli constituencies to discuss fundamental principles of the DPP constitution.
Regional organising secretary for the South Henry Matemba and national director of logistics Ben Chidyaonga said in interviews the constituents want Vice-President Saulos Chilima to be allowed to contest for the presidency at the party convention.
The party has not yet set a convention date.
In an interview yesterday, Matemba said the stand taken by people in the two constituencies should prompt party officials to sit down and reflect on what is happening in the party and make quick decisions on the way forward.
He said: “Our party [DPP] must show that it follows the fundamental principles of democracy. As it has always been said that it is a party of the people, the people are in a position to make decisions that should be taken on board. As for the way forward, they need to reflect.”
In a separate telephone interview, Mulanje South West legislator Bon Kalindo said he was aware of the meeting, adding it should send a strong signal to the DPP that people are eager to have Chilima as the party’s torchbearer.
“The Chilima camp is growing and we are having so many people who want to be affiliated to it. The people are tired. They need a convention whose date has not been set yet,” he said.
According to the officials, people in both constituencies are of the view that a convention, held in a transparent manner, would help address power challenges the party is facing.
The visit of the officials to the constituencies comes amid a split in the party as some members want Chilima to be the party torchbearer in the 2019 Tripartite Elections while others want the incumbent President Peter Mutharika to stand again.
The so-called Chilima movement was triggered by former first lady Callista Mutharika’s open pronouncement that the Veep is the ideal candidate to lead the party as Mutharika is ageing.
While Chilima is yet to comment on the matter, some DPP officials have declared Mutharika will automatically be the party’s torchbearer.