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‘Peter Mutharika wanted an outsider’

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Former president Peter Mutharika, who is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, wanted to hand over the leadership mantle to an outsider following its ouster from power during the June 23 Fresh Presidential Elections.

The revelation comes at a time when there are cracks in the party following calls for Mutharika to pave way for new leadership, echoed by the party’s secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey earlier this week.

A senior member in the party, who opted for anonymity, said after losing the election, some senior members in the party approached Mutharika, asking him to step down and pave way for new leadership.

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According to the source, Mutharika agreed but said he does not trust any of them and as such, he opted for an outsider.

“Upon losing the elections, senior members within the party suggested that Mutharika steps down and pave way for someone else. However, Mutharika wanted an outsider because he told his seniors that he does not trust any of them and as such, he will opt for an outsider. He opted for Dr. Kabambe [the source did not specify which one] but the senior members refused Mutharika’s choice. Then the party held a central committee meeting after that but some people did not agree with the discussions,” the source said.

Commenting on the matter, DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said he was not aware that Mutharika wanted an outsider and he was quick to say Mutharika is democratic, arguing he would not want to impose a leader on the party.

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“This is the first time I am hearing it, is not true. Let me tell you this; if we have democrats in the country I can challenge you that APM is among the top two. He is tolerant, he is understanding and he has been telling us that whoever succeeds him will succeed him at the convention. And I think [the Dr. Kabambe in question] knows how we do it in the party and he will contest when the right time comes,” he said.

However, Mpinganjira conceded that there are cracks in the party but he attributed the cracks to the June 23, 2020 presidential election post-mortem.

“It will be wrong not to concede that there are some cracks but it is normal. There were already camps being formed and these camps led to these cracks but at the end, we will zero in on one candidate who will be elected at the convention and trust me, DPP will come out stronger and united,” he said.

Mpinganjira further said the infights have nothing to do with loss of trust in their leader.

“It doesn’t have any bearing on the trust or mistrust of our president. I think it is safe to say the majority of people have confidence and trust in our party president, but you must understand that when things like this happen people react differently.

“Others will move on and there are those who will find fault even when there is none. There are those who feel they could have performed better than others. So you take all these sides and at the end of the day, this is debate which is meant to give you a sense of direction. If from the misunderstanding, we are able to get a good sense of direction that will take us back into government, then I have no problems with what is going on,” he said.

Meanwhile, social and political commentator Makhumbo Munthali described what is happening in DPP as a tip of the iceberg in as far as how the party is struggling on leadership succession following its loss of the election.

“It also shows that the party is being controlled by a few individuals. There is an inner circle headed by the incumbent president who holds decisions for the party and not the NGC,” he said.

On Thursday, the party’s senior members were summoned to a meeting at Mutharika’s residence in Mangochi, in the wake of Jeffrey’s ‘firing’, who has since indicated that she is not going anywhere.

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