The fire that former first lady, Callista Mutharika, ignited in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is refusing to die, with more senior members coming out to either endorse Vice-President Saulos Chilima or incumbent President Peter Mutharika, 13 months away from the tripartite elections.
Monday, lawmaker for Blantyre City South, Allan Ngumuya, joined growing calls for Chilima to be the party’s presidential candidate in next year’s elections.
Ngumuya’s remarks come barely a week after Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo endorsed the veep.
“There is nothing wrong with getting older … but we have an energetic young Vice President. Why should we force someone who is that old to continue running this country?” Ngumuya queried.
“If DPP wants to win, it has to field Chilima. We are not saying Mutharika is bad but he has done his part. It’s time to let a youthful mind run the country,” he said
While Ngumuya was justifying his support for Chilima, another DPP faction held a press conference in Lilongwe demanding an apology from national youth director Louis Ngalande for endorsing Chilima.
Ngalande was the first member of the party’s politburo to come out and support Callista’s endorsement of Chilima.
Ngalande’s deputy, Mussa Dyton, Presidential Advisor on Youth Symon Vuwa Kaunda and Northern, Eastern and Southern regions youth directors accused Ngalande of trying to bring confusion in the party.
“Ngalande said in his statement that it is the position of the youth. But we are here today to say that it is his position and his opinion and not the DPP youths’ opinion. For the youth in the party, our presidential candidate is Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and he has the right to get a running mate of his choice; we cannot dictate to him,” Kaunda said.
DPP youth director for the Central Region, Rajab Malimba, challenged that anybody who wants to compete against Mutharika at a convention is free to do so but the youth have endorsed Mutharika as the torch-bearer.
“Don’t say we are threatening people not to participate in convention activities. We are not. If there is a person who wants to compete against Professor, they should come forward and they will see right there at the convention,” Malimba said.
Ngalande, who was attending a meeting, reacted by asking for identities of the youth leaders who were holding the meeting and he laughed off their mandate before cutting the line.
“Were they elected at the convention?” Ngalande queried.
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