Political analysts have warned the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to rebuild and unite or forget about chances of getting back into power the 2025 Tripartite Elections.
The sentiments come in the face of a situation where two rival camps in DPP have organised political rallies at the same venue, Mgona Ground in Lilongwe, on Saturday and Sunday.
DPP vice-president (Centre) Zeria Chakale has organised a rally on Saturday while the other camp led by secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey and the party’s estranged vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, will be at the same venue on Sunday.
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa said DPP is trekking into the abyss because of growing rifts within the party and that the situation threatens to force supporters to lose interest in the party.
He argued that the tit-for-tat affair in the party was a sign that it lacks democratic ideals.
Thindwa said: “They are headed for doom and must forget about doing well in the 2025 elections.”
University of Malawi political and administrative studies associate professor Mustafa Hussein said in a separate interview that DPP appears to be non-repentant and lacks conflict resolution mechanisms.
“There is disunity, intolerance amongst the leaders, arrogance and this is danger to the growth and efficient operation of the party. We expected them to do better,” he said.
In an interview on Tuesday, Chakale said she had no idea that Nankhumwa and Jeffrey had organised another rally at the same venue on Sunday.
She said the party’s Central Region committee is the one responsible for rallies in the region and she was only aware of the one to take place on Saturday where she will be the speaker.
Chakale said: “The Central Region committee has organised a rally on Saturday and that is what I know. We have not had a rally for some time and we now want to meet. I cannot talk about the Sunday rally, I don’t know it.”
DPP organising secretary Chimwemwe Chipungu said Jeffrey has no mandate to organise a rally without going through his office.
But Jeffrey laughed off Chakale and Chipungu’s sentiments, saying as the chief executive officer of the party, she was supposed to be notified about any rally the party the party was planning to conduct.
She said: “They have done well to organise the Saturday rally because it will act as curtainraiser for the Sunday rally where Nankhumnwa, the leader of all opposition legislators,’ will address his supporters.”
DPP is embroiled in several court battles related to suspension of Nankhumwa, Jeffrey and others from the party.
In January this year, some senior members obtained a court order to stop the appointment of 30 people into the party’s national governing council.
DPP publicity secretary Shadric Namalomba last month also took Nankhumwa to court, challenging his shadow Cabinet as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
On his part, Nankhumwa in January this year, obtained an injunction against the party leadership after being summoned to a disciplinary hearing for allegedly using the portrait of the party’s founding leader, the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
The shenanigans are happening after the party’s functional review committee already warned that divisions are condemning the party to its slow death.
The committee also cast doubt on whether the party’s main leadership organ, the central committee, was behaving in the interest of the party.
But Thindwa said on Tuesday if the party continues to be divided, it will be a disincentive to its followers who may look for other avenues.
The in-fighting in the party started before the court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election held on June 23 2020, but deep divisions came to light in August 2020 after Jeffrey told The Nation that DPP president Mutharika had done his part and that there was need for new leadership.
Mutharika lost the court-ordered June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election to the nine-party Tonse Alliance led by MCP president Lazarus Chakwera who partnered Mutharika’s then estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima of UTM Party.
Mutharika took over the leadership of DPP after the death of his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012, propelling the party to victory in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.