BLANTYRE—Ageing President Peter Mutharika is still finding it difficult to bring peace in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as squabbles continue locking the ruling party ahead of their convention scheduled for this Sunday.
Recently, top officials of the party broke away from the party and started their own movement which is campaigning for vice president Saulos Chilima presidency in 2019, but now the remaining officials in the party have also parted ways internally following the emergence of two camps as team A and team B ahead of their elective convention.
Team A is comprised of Grezeldar Jeffrey, who is seeking re-election as secretary general (SG), Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka, who is vying for vice-presidency for the Eastern Region, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, who is eyeing the position of treasurer general, and Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who wants to be the party’s mouthpiece, have formed a camp christened DPP A.
Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nakhumwa, who wants to be vice-president for the South challenging incumbent George Chaponda and Ben Phiri who is vying for the post of director of elections are also in team A.
Ironically, team B is comprised of old timers who are also close to the president Mutharika. They include George Chaponda, Henry Mussa, Hertherwick Ntaba, Josephy Mwanamveka.
The cracks in the party were clearly exposed over the weekend when people who are contesting for different positions stormed the Northern Region DPP headquarters for campaign where they met 312 delegates who are expected to vote at the indaba.
The current treasurer general, Henry Mussa, and Agriculture Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, who are also contesting for vice-presidency of the Southern Region were seen in Mzuzu splashing out K3 million and K2.5 million respectively to the delegates.
Msaka was being challenged by Yunus Mussa in the East. But Mussa has since pulled out from the contest.
During Mussa’s and Mwanamvekha’s meetings, DPP Regional Governor for the North, Kenneth Sanga, gave five minutes to each of the contesters to campaign and later announced the amounts of cash given to the delegates.
However, no time limit was given to DPP A contesters who came and met the delegates at the same venue and gave them K8.5 million.
In their speeches, Jeffrey, Msaka, Mhango and Dausi backed each other saying they are the team which can help steer the party into success come 2019.
“These people you are seeing are a good team to go with,” Mhango said.
“This is the time to receive the money that others are giving you. But remember where were they before, were they meeting you, were they coming to the North for some works even from their ministry?” Jeffrey said.
But Dausi, who is Chairperson of the convention, said the party will ensure that the elections are free and fair by giving a chance to the delegates to vote for leaders of their choice.
“DPP is democratic and we are going to ensure that all the contesters are given an equal platform for campaign and the choice of the delegates. We will invite all media houses to cover us so that they monitor the democratic way of electing leaders,” he said.
Ken Msonda, who wants to become the party’s spokesperson has also already courted the delegates in the Northern Region.
Reports also indicate that Clement Mwale and Wictor Songazaudzu Sajeni are challenging Jeffrey but we are yet to establish to whose camp they belong among the four candidates contesting on the post of vice-president for the South.
Effort to speak to Mussa proved futile as his mobile phone was out of reach.
But Mwnamvekha confirmed contesting but asked for more time before commenting on the camps.
Meanwhile, the North DPP regional committee has endorsed Mhango on treasurer general to go unopposed and Goodall Gondwe to maintain his position of vice-president responsible for the region.
Other notable people who met the delegates were Esther Mcheka Chilenje, Gladys Ganda, Chimwemwe Chipungu and Zeria Chakale.
From all the meetings held, the delegates realised K20.5 million and each got K55,000 including transport refunds.
The meetings are also expected to happen in the remaining three DPP political regions.
Commenting on the development, political experts have said such cracks are indicators that the party is near its expiration.