Former president Peter Mutharika has disputed reports that his wife, Gertrude, has endorsed Bright Msaka as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 2025 presidential candidate.
Mutharika, through his spokesperson Shadreck Namalomba, said in a statement yesterday that the recent media reports that the former First Lady endorsed Msaka as the anointed candidate for the DPP presidency were not true.
Reads the statement: “This is also coming at the backdrop of yet another allegation that His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika [APM] and the former First Lady had endorsed Honourable Dalitso Kabambe for the same position of DPP president. All this is not true.”
Mutharika said he is a true democrat who believes in the DPP constitution which provides for a free and fair election of leaders into various positions of the party at a convention held every five years.
In an interview yesterday, Namalomba said the next convention to elect leaders at all levels of the party will take place in 2023.
He said the indaba will be preceded by an announcement by the Central Executive Committee of the party of the date of the convention and commencement of campaign for those eligible to stand for office.
However, he said the “unfounded” rumours were aimed at denting Mutharika’s image and that of the former First Lady to give undue advantage to other candidates vying for top DPP positions.
Since losing the June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election, the former ruling party has been embroiled in political leadership battles which have led to the emergence of two different camps.
On July 11 2022, DPP vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa, told party followers at a rally at Nyambadwe ground in Blantyre that he will stand for the party’s presidency at the convention, saying he is ready to face any candidate for the top seat.
Early this month, DPP vice-president for the Eastern Region, Bright Msaka, also declared his interest to contest for the hot seat.
Others who expressed interest are Kabambe and former minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamvekha.
However, last month Mutharika told Voice of America that people have been calling on him to contest in the 2025 presidential elections so that he should complete projects which, he claimed, incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera has failed to complete.
Livingstonia University political commentator George Phiri yesterday blamed the rumours on Mutharika, saying he is not in control of his party.
“The problem is with Peter Mutharika because he doesn’t know what he is doing. Someone is sitting on a driving seat but isn’t driving.
“When you fail to do what you are supposed to do, other people will do it for you,” he said.