Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika says he has finished fixing the party and it is ready to hold its convention in July next year.
In his address at Mulhako wa Alhomwe congregation moderator, emphasized the importance of the word of God to the country’s development.
He said Malawi needs the word of God to achieve mindset change as one of the enablers of Malawi 2063.
Said Msangaambe: “The word of God in our hearts will help us change the mindset of Malawians. If a person has the word in his or her heart, they cannot steal, or engage in acts of indiscipline.
“Through the word in the believer’s heart makes them good citizens and Malawi a peaceful country; hence, Malawi as a country will thrive in development.”
Veritas College Malawi
at Chonde in Mulanje on Sunday, the former State president said the party has developed a new constitution. Annual Cultural Festival
Mutharika, 82, said he will soon call for the party’s national governing council (NGC) to approve the new changes.
He said: “We have finished fixing the party, there are new rules, a new [party] constitution, new rules governing the party, new rules in electing councillors, MP’s [members of Parliament] and leaders in the party from the area committee level to the president.
“We finished this last week and anytime soon before December I will call for the NGC so that we approve this and after that a convention will follow in July 2023.”
Since August 2020, there has been infighting in the DPP pertaining to leadership succession with one camp owing its allegiance to Mutharika and the other to the party ’s vice-president ( South ) Kondwani Nankhumwa.
The divisions came after the party’s secretary general Greselder Jeffrey told The Nation in an inter view in August 2020 that Mutharika, who lost the June 23 2020 court-sanctioned fresh presidential election to President Lazarus Chakwera, had done his part and that the DPP needed a new person to lead it into the future.
When asked to comment on the changes as announced by Mutharika, Jeffrey on Sunday asked for more time to consult while Nankhumwa did not respond.
But in his address, Mutharika said candidates and other party members that will not conform to the new rules will be given an opportunity to leave the party.
“Those who disagree with us, must leave the party. If you think you have a large following, leave and we will see if people will follow you on your way out,” he challenged.
The Mul h a ko wa A l h o m w e p a t r o n expressed optimism that the DPP remains a strong party despite some individuals causing divisions to the extent that some went to court to have him removed as its leader.
While not specifically mentioning naming the individuals, Mutharika said the party has what it takes to win the 2025 General Elections, citing the recent Afrobarometer survey results which favoured the DPP over the nine-party Tonse Alliance.
The Afrobarometer survey results released on August 30 2022 established through its opinion poll that a majority of respondents said they would vote for the DPP if elections were held in February 2022.
Mutharika said for the DPP needs someone who has wits to lead it ahead of the 2025 elections and beyond.
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa on Sunday said the changes as announced by Mutharika need to be in pursuit of broader party membership and in a fashion that not only advances, but also seen to be promoting the cause of unity of purpose.
“Short of that, changes could be challenged and construed as unconstitutional designed to accord undue advantage to preferred candidates for certain positions by the party elite,” he said.
Last year, the DPP set up a special committee to conduct a functional review on how the party can move forward.
In its report, the committee warned that divisions are condemning the party to its slow death and doubted if even the party’s main leadership organ, the central committee, is behaving in the interest of the party.
Prior to Mutharika ’ s speech, Mulhako wa Alhomwe chairperson Leston Mulli, claimed that some “elements” in the count r y want to deregister the cultural group.
In reaction to Mulli’s claims, Mutharika said he will fight back such elements.
Present at the event were former United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi, DPP presidential hopefuls Joseph Mwanamvekha, Dalitso Kabambe, Bright Msaka and senior members of the party and the cultural group.
Mulhako wa Alhomwe was formed during the administration of former president late Bingu wa Mutharika purportedly to preserve Lhomwe cultural heritage.
But with time, perceptions emerged that members of the group were being favoured in the award of government contracts and consideration of top positions in the public sector.