BLANTYRE—Amid revelations that Peter Mutharika is the big fish in as far as corruption is concerned, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President gathered confidence on Tuesday to tell Malawians that he is not contesting in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections to amass wealth.
Mutharika, who recently has been implicated in a K145 million shoddy deal over a Malawi Police Service contract with Pioneer Investments, said this at the close of DPP’s convention in Blantyre.
Mutharika said there is nothing to celebrate about in the presidency being a hot seat other than serving Malawians.
“Some people have been saying that I am contesting to enrich myself. But let me tell you this, I receive K2.7 million but what I get is K1.5 million. This means I get 60 percent of the money, the rest goes [back] to government. I am here to serve Malawians and improve their lives,” he said.
His statements have left many Malawians of good will astounded considering that the K145 million is almost equal to his two months’ salary.
In his attempt to clear himself from unfair games, Mutharika then warned members of the party to refrain from tendencies where aspirants in parliamentary seats are imposed.
Mutharika said the party will organise primaries in all constituencies between August and September this year.
“Do not impose on the people candidates of your choice. Let the people decide who they want. If you choose for them, the implication will be on us losing aspiring MPs [Members of Parliament] who are liked by many and they will join other parties or will become independent. So let them choose leaders of their choice,” he said.
Delegates at the indaba unanimously ushered Mutharika to the presidential seat as no one challenged him to lead the party in the 2019 tripartite elections.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and his Education counterpart Bright Msaka were also elected as DPP’s vice-presidents for the Northern and Eastern regions respectively unopposed.
Others who went unopposed were Transport Minister Jappie Mhango, who contested for the position of treasurer general, national campaign director Everton Chimulilenji, national director of logistics Symon Vuwa Kaunda, national director of economic affairs, Ralph Jooma and national director of legal affairs Charles Mhango.
Former DPP vice-president, George Chaponda, withdrew at the eleventh hour in the contest for the vice-presidency of the Southern Region.
About eight positions are still vacant as the convention failed to usher in new office bearers over what the Chairperson of the organising committee, Nicholas Dausi, said was a technical glitch.
The positions include national director of youth, national director of religious affairs, national director of international affairs and the positions’ five deputies.
“Mec which presided over the elections said names and faces of the contestants in question were not clear on the ballot paper, hence it could confuse voters,” he said.
However, he said the central committee of the party will provide expertise to regional structures who will be tasked to vote in their respective areas.
“Names of successful candidates will then be taken to the president for approval,” he said.
Among other casualties of the convention are Agriculture Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha and Minister of Trade Henry Mussa, who were vying for the vice-presidency of the party in the Southern Region. Hetherwick Ntaba and Samuel Tembenu also missed out on the position of vice-president for the Centre. Francis Kasaila lost his post as the party’s spokesperson to Dausi.
Grezeldar Jeffrey retained her seat as the party’s secretary general while Cecelia Chazama has been elected national director of women.