Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika Sunday announced that the party will hold its elective convention in July next year ahead of the 2025 tripartite elections.
Mutharika was speaking during this year’s Mulhakho wa Alhomwe celebrations at Chonde in Mulanje District.
He said the party has finished developing convention guidelines which will be endorsed at its National Governing Council meeting on December 4 this year.
“The DPP is in good shape right from the area [committee level] all the way to national executive. The problem is that there are some people who don’t want to wait for their time to lead the party. They want to lead right now while I am still president. A lot of people are asking me to contest at the convention so that I represent the DPP in 2025. Let me say that I have not made a decision yet on this matter but if I decide not to contest I will guide you on who to choose.
“We will not choose people who don’t know anything at all. We will choose a well educated candidate who is able to turn around the economy of the country. We, as a party, have finished developing new convention guidelines which will be endorsed at our National Governing Council meeting on December 4 this year and if you do not want to play by those rules you are free to leave and start your own party. Let’s see if people will choose you,” he said.
The party’s secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey is on record to have said only delegates that voted at the party’s convention prior to the 2019 elections will vote in the next elective convention.
On Mulhakho wa Alhomwe celebrations, Mutharika said it is important for people of Lhomwe ethnic background to come together and celebrate their culture, saying Lhomwes are very accommodative.
He said Lhomwes are hardworking people but asked companies who own huge pieces of idle land in the Lhomwe belt to share it with Lhomwes so that they can cultivate and settle on it.
Paramount Chief Kaduya hailed the ‘Unity and Diversity’ theme for this year’s celebrations.
Mulhakho wa Alhomwe Chairperson Leston Mulli called on Lhomwes to continue being united and living in peace with people of other ethnic groups, saying Mulhakho wa Alhomwe will always be there.
Mulli has since stepped down as chairperson for the cultural grouping.
Former United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and DPP vice president for the Southern Region Kondwani Nankhumwa and other DPP presidential aspirants Bright Msaka, Joseph Mwanamvekha and Dalitso Kabambe also attended the event.
Meanwhile, political commentators Makhumbo Munthali and George Phiri have faulted Mutharika for making the convention announcement at Mulhakho wa Alhomwe celebrations, saying it was a wrong platform.
Munthali, however, said the move is not surprising, saying Mulhakho wa Alhomwe has sometimes been used as a political platform to champion what he called “narrow interests” of the DPP.
“In situations where a president of the party comes out and makes such an announcement, it’s not surprising to those who have followed how meetings of this cultural grouping have been organised.
“It’s really unfortunate because the expectation is that at these cultural meetings you have people of different political parties and using that platform to spearhead a political agenda is unfortunate and defeats the whole purpose of the cultural grouping,” he said.
Phiri said Mulhakho wa Alhomwe is understood to be a cultural heritage and not political grouping.
“The DPP must understand the difference between party politics and Mulhakho wa Alhomwe as a cultural heritage [organisation] because if they take Mulhakho wa Alhomwe as a political function, we will have problems,” he said.