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Pressure mounts on DPP’s Francis Mphepo

By Feston Malekezo & Eric Msikiti:

MPHEPO—I did not even utter those words

Pressure is mounting on President Peter Mutharika’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Administrative Secretary, Francis Mphepo, over remarks he is alleged to have made in Blantyre recently that the Malawi leader will withdraw all development projects from the Northern Region as people in the region are ungrateful.

It is alleged that Mphepo made the remarks last week when he met some of the party’s Southern Region officials.

An audio clip The Daily Times has quotes Mphepo saying; “This issue of hunger is true but it is wrong to say that we are not giving out maize to the people in the North. If we say we have stopped giving them developmental projects will they be happy? And worse still, they cannot appreciate all the developmental projects we have given them,” he said.

The clip, which is making rounds on social media, has attracted condemnation from several sectors of society.

In a statement, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson, Maurice Munthali, said the party had learnt with disbelief, sorrow and dismay what it called reckless and discriminatory remarks by the DPP senior member.

“Through such irrational remarks, the DPP is insensitively fanning anger on a people who have always suffered immensely under a burdensome reign and nobody in this country is obliged to thank Mutharika or anybody else for the development they already deserve,” the statement reads.

Aford leader in Parliament, Yeremiah Chihana, said Mphepo’s remarks are an affirmation that Malawi needs federal system of the government.

Khumbo Mwaungulu, Aford’s spokesperson, has since demanded a public apology from Mphepo within 48 hours.

“Failure to do so will see Aford assembling Northern Region citizens to take necessary action to deal with this malaise,” Aford’s statement reads.

But Mphepo has since distanced himself from the clip.

“We had our meeting in Blantyre and we were discussing how to strategise ourselves in terms of holding rallies. We never talked about the issue to do with the North. Even if you had seen me, why would I wish to say such remarks when I am an adviser to the President? The President has been saying he wants to develop the whole country regardless of where you are coming from,” he said.

“This is a sad story. I did not even utter those words. I am not mad. Why would I say that? Do I want to unite the country or destroy it? I believe some ill-minded people have done this, but I don’t know their motive.”

Recently, some Cabinet ministers were taken to task to explain some unfinished development projects in the Northern Region.

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