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‘DPP not for sale’

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President Peter Mutharika Thursday came out forcefully and accused some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of selling the party to the opposition.

The President made the remarks at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre when he opened the 30th Malawi International Trade Fair.

“The party belongs to you anthu akumudzi [the grass roots]. The party belongs to you makadeti [cadets]. They want to sell the party but I will not allow that. The party is not for sale,” he said.

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Mutharika, in apparent reference to the faction calling for Vice-President Saulos Chil ima to represent the party in next year’s Tripartite Elections, said he will not tolerate it, emphasising the party belongs to people.

Mutharika said he values loyalty of DPP supporters more than anything.

“You remember when Bingu died? We had 144 Members of Parliament (MPs) but, out of those, only 44 remained. During that time, you were all there for me. Those Pharisees will be left behind,” he said.

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DPP regional governor for the Southern Region, Charles Mchacha, reiterated that, no matter what happens, Mutharika would be the party’s torchbearer in the next year’s elections putting in doubt the possibility of the party holding an elective convention in the run-up to the elections.

“I am saying this for the second time. Come 2019, Professor Mutharika is our candidate. We have seen what he is doing for us from Nsanje to Chitipa since he came to power and we want that to continue,” he said.

Mchacha justified making a speech at a government function which had nothing to do with DPP, saying there is no government without a political party.

“People should understand that there is no government without a political party and a party that formed government in 2014 is DPP,” he said.

With about 11 months before the May 21 2019 elections, it is only main opposition Malawi Congress Party which has held its convention, with United Democratic Front expected to hold its indaba on August 1.

The immediate former ruling People’s Party is yet to announce a date for the convention although the coming back of its founder and current president Joyce Banda is widely considered as a step towards that direction.

DPP is embroiled in a power struggle with some quarters in the party demanding that Mutharika should step down and let Chilima lead the party next year.

Early this month, over 50 MPs endorsed Mutharika to lead the party in the forthcoming elections ahead of Chilima

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