Hon. Folks, untold misfortunes continue to happen DPP and they have followed each other in rapid succession since the former ruling party was booted out of government on June 23.
Although things seem to have taken a turn for worse in the blue camp just recently, it is a known fact that ‘camps’ emerged in the party long time ago—even before the historic Constitutional Court (Concourt) judgment that nullified the disputed May 21 presidential elections.
Actually, in one of his final public speeches before the Fresh Presidential Election, DPP leader and former head of State Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) publicly confirmed speculations about existing factions and political squabbles in his party
But in the true sense of the Chewa proverb that says “muvi oyang’anira suchedwa kulowa mmaso”, APM is surely realising now that doing nothing about the emergence of camps in his party was one of the biggest political mistakes he ever made in his political career.
In fact, the problem with doing nothing and watching problems grow at will is that it validates the fear that nothing can be done to correct the apparent problem, which has now come to haunt APM and it is one of the toughest tasks he will have work out politically to unite his divided followers.
It is a well known secret that a handful of senior members, including DPP vice-presidents with presidential ambitions have been fighting secretly to succeed APM as DPP president even with his knowledge.
Now that DPP lost the presidency and APM is arguably out of the puzzle for 2025 elections due to his advanced age, among others, the battle for the party’s hot seat remains in anticipation of the next election.
Interestingly, Nankhumwa appears to be the only stumbling bloc now for all of APM’s loyalists who are basking in the hope that they could take over the mantle from Mutharika to steer DPP into the forthcoming presidential election.
Almost six months after the last presidential vote, top DPP gurus are still fighting what appears to be a fruitless battle to replace him with Francis Kasaila on the post of Leader of Opposition in Parliament which he has held since the change of government.
For Chimulirenji, he detached himself from speculation that he was also canvassing to succeed Mutharika and categorically denied harbouring ambition to be president of the party, and let alone this great Republic.
Chimulirenji once told DPP members in Liwonde: “Ineyo sindingafune u pulezidenti chifukwa ine kungofuna u pulezidenti abwana aja [Mutharika] ndidana nawo chifukwa aziganiza kuti ineyo nditha kuwachita zoipa kuti ndikhale pa mpando [I have no ambition to become President because the moment I do so I will be at loggerheads with Mutharika who may think I can harm him to become President].
As time is fast ticking towards 2025, it is only sensible to feel sad for DPP and its leadership because they have arguably failed to systemtically resolve their differences and obviously have no clear plans for democratic succession learning from its past mistakes.
Not long after the 2009 general elections, DPP founder the late president Bingu wa Mutharika fired his then State vice-president Joyce Banda over succession woes which prompted her to form her own party PP.
Ahead of the 2019 polls another faction led by the Vice-President Saulos Chilima disintergrated from DPP and formed UTM Party over similar succession squabbles.
Of course, succession woes have also been a general problem in most local parties due to lack of well institutionalised party frameworks.
But now DPP needs unity more than ever before if the party is serious about bouncing back into government.
This is also in view of the current situation where our Parliament seems to have a weaker opposition with little focus on checking and balancing the government’s business as the main opposition party seems to have sank in internal wrangling.