Former first lady Callista Mutharika yesterday bashed the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) again, claiming she is airing her views to protect her in-law, President Peter Mutharika, from ‘beasts’.
Callista, widow to president Bingu wa Mutharika, told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) that Peter Mutharika is turning 80 next year when the nation will be going to the polls.
She said the President would be too old to carry on as he would be 84 or 85 at time of leaving office, arguing it is normal that thinking capacity levels deteriorates as one gets older.
“I know my in-law, he is a good man, he was not like this, but he is being pressurised to stand again. He is surrounded by beasts who are misleading him.
“People think I am being rude. I am not. It is not an offence to be old. I am against thieves and beasts that have surrounded my in-law,” Callista said.
The former first lady on Wednesday expressed her open support for Vice-President Saulos Chilima to become DPP’s presidential candidate for the 2019 elections in a WhatsApp chat group of former legislators and Cabinet ministers.
Her comments split political minds, with some saying the comments signify deep intra-party problems in the DPP while others said what she said was nothing but a mere opinion.
In the WhatsApp comment Callista openly supported Chilima to become the ruling party’s presidential candidate in 2019, saying he was the only hope for the country despite that Mutharika declared himself the party’s presidential candidate.
She said DPP cannot win with Mutharika as a presidential candidate.
In yesterday’s interview with Zodiak, Callista alleged that some people, who were critical of her, were once involved in corruption scandals, but they now hold senior positions.
She said at a time some individuals were busy strategising and campaigning to become legislators, it was also time that her views were heard so that poor Malawians are able to put in office people with clean records.
“We have to share ideas so that we vote for a leader who would assist us and develop Malawi,” she said.
The former first lady urged capable politicians, not only Chilima, but also in other parties to come forward and contest as presidential candidates of their parties.
“Leadership must never be given on a sliver-platter, people must sweat for it,” she said.
She said she is Catholic and she stands for justice, love and peace, hence she has decided to speak for the poor.
But presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani earlier told our sister newspaper Weekend Nation that Mutharika will lead the DPP in the elections.
“I do not have a comment, apart from reiterating that President Mutharika will lead the DPP,” he told Weekend Nation.
Government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi also refused to comment on the matter.
In an interview with Capital Radio on Friday, Callista said she believes Chilima has what it takes to lead the DPP.
“I think he [Chilima] has the capacity, is visionary and youthful. He is the right person.Time will come when not just me, but many in the DPP, will support him,” she said.