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DPP officials speak on Saulos Chilima’s silence

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Region district governors have said Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s silence on whether he wants to be the party’s presidential candidate is a sign that all those endorsing him have no basis and that there are no divisions in the party.

The region’s 23 governors told reporters yesterday that President Peter Mutharika holds the discretion to choose his running mate and dismissed reports of divisions in the party.

Led by Mussa Saidi of Lilongwe Urban, the governors argued that, having consulted voters in their respective political districts, they were convinced that Mutharika is the ideal candidate for the party.

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Saidi was resolute, saying delegates to the party’s convention will elect Mutharika.

“The President and his vice are working together very well. During the previous convention, the President was elected and he chose Chilima as his deputy and there has never been any division between them. As Central Region district governors, we want President Mutharika to represent the party next year,” Saidi said.

He said DPP will go to the convention to elect other office-bearers and not the party’s torchbearer because everyone wants Mutharika to stand again.

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“If Chilima is not saying anything, it means there is no problem between him and the President. There are no divisions between the two and in the party. There are those who are simply trying to bring confusion when we all know that there are no divisions in DPP,” he said.

Governor for Nkhotakota Urban, Anthony Manyamba, said they do not see anyone who can represent the party in next year’s elections apart from Mutharika.

When contacted yesterday, Chilima’s spokesperson, Pilirani Phiri, said he would not comment on the matter.

Former first lady, Callista Mutharika, first came out in the open to declare her support for Chilima’s candidacy, arguing her in-law’s age will make him less fit for the top job.

She went on to endorse Chilima. Since then, other DPP officials, including national director of youth Louis Ngalande, Members of Parliament Allan Ngumuya and Bon Kalindo and Northern Region deputy governor Afiki Mbewe have thrown their weight behind Chilima.

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