Former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has unveiled a three-pronged strategy it says can help the party reclaim Capital Hill during the 2025 Tripartite Elections.
Speaking during the party ’s colourful Blue Night Fundraising Dinner at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, DPP president Peter Mutharika said the party first needs to have the financial muscle to host its elective convention and run a campaign.
He said message clarity is another step as Malawians are now able to distinguish between genuine and fake promises. He also said election of a right candidate capable of managing the country ’s economy is another strategy.
Mutharika said: “So, for DPP to come back, make sure that Malawi people are now expecting a candidate and it doesn’t matter he or she is from the South, North, East or Mchinji or wherever, but it must be somebody that people believe can govern this country and manage this economy.
“If you choose a brute, then forget. You will never get back in 2025 and I can assure you that because Malawians are no longer stupid. They will vote for somebody who has substance and who has experience.”
He said Malawians were regretting voting into power the Tonse Alliance pair of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice- President Saulos Chilima as their administration has failed to deliver on promises made during the campaign for the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election held on June 23 2020.
Since the nullification of his 2019 victory by the High Court of Malawi sitting as a Constitutional Court on February 3 2020 and the subsequent upholding of the decision by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal on May 8 the same year, Mutharika has maintained that the decision was a “judicial coup d’etat” that denied Malawians their will.
But in his address on Saturday, he conceded that the departure of Chilima, who was his running mate in 2014 and his Vice- President between 2014 and 2019, to form UTM Party, contributed to DPP and his downfall in the fresh election.
Mutharika said: “We didn’t lose elections because of me. We lost elections because Chilima brought 20 percent votes and that 20 percent were actually DPP votes. There was no other way we could win with the coalition that was put together. So, in future let’s not start blaming others.”
But political scientists Joseph Chunga, Ernest Thindwa and Nandini Patel said DPP needed to clarify certain issues before the 2025 presidential election.
Chunga, a research fellow at the Centre for Social Research of the University of Malawi, said the critical question DPP should answer is how different it will be from the Tonse Alliance.
“But more importantly, how different will they be from the old DPP that people had to demonstrate against,” he said.
Patel, on the other hand, said the three points could have explicitly come out in the DPP manifesto that would make Malawi realise aspirations in Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development strategy.
She observed that the strategy is silent on a workable electoral alliance and advised DPP to take a positive approach rather than counting on others’ failure.
Said Patel: “Put your party in order by showing intra-party democracy. Ensure free and fair convention. Managing the economy needs team work of people with calibre and capacity. The strategy should spell merit and integrity.”
On his part, Thindwa said funding is critical for any political, party saying any election needs a lot of resources.
However, he cast doubt at the possibility of DPP electing a candidate who is not a Lhomwe or from the Southern Region, the party’s stronghold.
Thindwa said: “They can take advantage of flaws within the Tonse Alliance and currently I think the general perception is that the Tonse Alliance has not met the people’s expectations.
“But that’s not enough. They need to make DPP a national party by eliminating the perception that the party belongs to Lhomwes or people from the South.”
Notable faces that attended the event included DPP presidential hopefuls Joseph Mwanamvekha, Bright Msaka, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Dalitso Kabambe and Paul Gadama.
Mulanje South West legislator George Chaponda was also in attendance as was former Malawi National Examinations Board executive director Gerald Chiunda, DPP regional governor for the North Christopher Mzomera Ngwira and all regional governors.
But conspicuously missing was estranged DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey and prominent businesspersons who used to bankroll such events when DPP was in power.
By 6:30pm, about two hours before the event started, the venue was full to its capacity painted in blue and white colours of the party. Some party members were forced to follow the proceedings from outside the hall, while others stood around the walls inside the hall.