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I am not grooming anyone— Peter Mutharika

Peter Mutharika

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) launch of parliamentary by-election in Lilongwe South Constituency Sunday attracted mixed reactions from participants of the polls scheduled for November 5 2019.

While Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Peter Dimba and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) challenger Frank Mazizi welcomed the idea to hold the elections now, UTM deputy director of elections, Bright Kawaga, said Mec cannot be trusted to hold the polls as the May 21 tripartite elections, were according to him, marred by irregularities.

The by-election in Lilongwe South follows the death of Agnes Penemulungu before she competed in the May 21 parliamentary election.

The late Penemulungu, who in June 2013 resigned from then governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was to groom as many people as possible to provide his followers with better alternatives once he leaves the stage, because although he is leaving it to democracy, democracy is just a system through which leaders—better or bad—are chosen.

“But if he grooms or indeed raises young people, he will leave behind better people who could be elected to leadership positions through a democratic process because better leaders leave even better leaders behind them,” Phiri said Sunday.

He added that some of the leadership problems Malawi has been facing are a result of lack of succession plans by the country’s leaders.

“Good leaders will always have a succession plan; they would look for leadership traits in young people that surround them and groom them for even greater responsibilities,” he said.

There are no clear succession plans in most political parties in Malawi due to founders’ syndromes which see founding leaders opting to pass on the mantle to members of their families.

Mutharika ran for the presidency in 2014 with Saulos Chilima as his running-mate.

However, the relationship between the two turned sour, a development that saw then Vice-President Chilima establishing UTM to compete with his boss during the May 21 2019 tripartite elections.

Chilima had filled the void which Joyce Banda left in DPP when she formed People’s Party after falling out with the party’s then leader, President and Peter Mutharika’s elder brother, Bingu.

Chillima is, alongside Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera, now challenging results of the elections in court.

Banda succeeded Bingu after he died while still at the helm in 2012.

Eventually, Banda lost to Mutharika during 2014 polls which he contested alongside Chilima as the running mate and eventually vice president.

After Chilima’s exit from DDP last year, Mutharika picked Everton Chimulirenji as his running mate and he became vice president.

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