On Thursday, People’s Party (PP) secretary general Ibrahim Matola met district governors in the Northern Region who demanded to know if the party has sealed an alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Our Reporter JOHN CHIRWA caught up with Matola.
PP governors want members of Parliament (MPs) to explain why they met President Peter Mutharika at State House recently. Why were they absent from the meeting?
We arranged that one or two of the MPs should be here, but they did not turn up because of the business taking place in Parliament. Secondly, we arranged that the vice-president Kamlepo Kalua should be with us. But he is caught up with other engagements in his constituency.
What transpired during the MPs’ meeting with Mutharika?
We sat down with the MPs to hear what transpired. First and foremost, it is the DPP which was looking for our MPs. You know when you have a beautiful daughter or a handsome boy, many people would want his or her hand in marriage. Our MPs are vibrant in Parliament. They are vocal and argue with facts. Parliament is lively when our members make contributions. So, DPP swallowed its pride by coercing our MPs. There is no harm for them to meet the Head of State.
Some opposition MPs boycotted Parliament recently due to government’s reluctance to table the Electoral Reforms Bills. But PP MPs did not walk out. Has your party gone to bed with the DPP administration?
There is no any alliance between PP and DPP. Even the district governors we met here in the North say a big no to an alliance with DPP. I have already told our MPs, through our party’s leader in Parliament Ralph Mhone, that that is the stand of the people here. So, what happened on Wednesday should not be an issue that there is an alliance between us and DPP. By the way, DPP is already rotten. It is already finished. So, there is no way we are going to handle their mess. Of course, sometimes MPs can agree on one thing and disagree on the other in the House.
Have individual MPs forged an alliance with DPP?
Let me not answer on their behalf. But the bottom line is that there is no alliance between PP and DPP. As a party we believe that an alliance is between parties and not between individual members. This is because MPs come and go. In 2019 we may not have the same MPs. So, an alliance is not made with MPs, but with the party.
Who is leading the party now that Uladi Mussa was fired from his position as acting president?
Our president remains Joyce Banda. Until the day we call for a convention, she is our leader. I am the secretary general of the party to deal with all policy issues. For publicity we have an individual as well. So, the leadership is still intact.
Even the grassroots are saying they still want Banda as their leader. And we expect her to win the next elections because she is visionary and decisive.
Why is it taking long for her to return home?
People want her to be back as soon as yesterday. The earlier, the better. But it is taking long for her to return home because we feel she is facing persecution and not prosecution. And it is the government which is playing games with the issue of persecution. For example, the way the issue of the warrant of arrest came into public domain, it shows that it is not about prosecution, but persecution.
Any other remark?
We are glad that the people who started the journey with us are still behind the party. They continue to work hard for the party. We feel the party is still strong in the North.