Bright Msaka reaffirms intention to contest for DPP presidency

Msaka, former Cabinet Minister

* Wants to bring the party back to its glory come the 2025 national presidential election

* Pledges to continue with development plans it had prior to being wrestled of the national presidency in the 2020 fresh presidential election

* In sharp contrast to calls from the DPP inner circle that wants incumbent DPP president, Peter Mutharika to stand again as party leader to contest for the national presidency

By Duncan Mlanjira

Vice-president of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the Eastern Region, Bright Msaka has reaffirmed his intention to contest for the party presidency at the next convention.


Reported by Mzati Radio & TV online, which belong to DPP’s vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa — who is also aspiring for the same post — Msaka is quoted as saying he wants to bring the party back to its glory come the 2025 national presidential election.

The online publication further says Msaka has pledged to continue with development plans it had prior to being wrestled of the national presidency in the 2020 fresh presidential election.

This is also in contrast to calls from the DPP inner circle that wants incumbent DPP president, Peter Mutharika to stand again as party leader to contest for the national presidency.

Kondwani Nankhumwa

At a rally at Mgona in Lilongwe on April 30, organised by the party’s Central Region executive committee, vice-president (Centre), Zelia Chikale emphasized that Mutharika has the constitutional right to stand again as the Head of State.

While assuring that it is up to APM to decide whether he wants to contest again, Chakale asked the huge gathering of DPP members if it was their wish for the former President to rule again — to which she received a resounding vote of confirmation.

She went on to say that anyone wishing to contest for the 2025 presidential race should quit the DPP and form their own party or contest for the party presidency during the DPP’s convention — at which APM will express his intention to retain the leadership.

This was in direct reference to Nankhumwa, whose ambition is to become the DPP president while the party snubs it by trying to remove him as Leader of Opposition.

A fortnight ago, DPP regional governor, Charles Mchacha responded to Nankhumwa’s letter indicating his intention to hold a rally at Nyambadwe Primary School, asking him to first seek permission from Mutharika but he still went ahead with his rally.


Nankhumwa is embroiled in leadership wrangle within the DPP hierarchy — the most recent being removed as Leader of Opposition and replaced by George Chaponda.

Nankhumwa sought court intervention from which he was granted an injunction and thus reinstated — to the chagrin of the rest of the party leadership that appointed Chaponda as replacement during a caucus which Mutharika held at his personal retirement residence, the PAGE House in Mangochi last month.

The injunction was granted to 22 DPP Members of Parliament by the High Court in Lilongwe on June 28 in which Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda ordered that the status quo that existed before Chaponda’s appointment be maintained.

This is not the first time that an attempt was made by Nankhumwa’s own party to replace him as Leader of Opposition — the first some two years ago in which Nankhumwa also opposed in liaison with Jeffrey, Jappie Mhango and Yusuf Nthenda.

Following this rebellion, Mutharika fired the four but they also went to court which granted an injunction and the dismissals were rescinded and they were reinstated in their various posts.

The failed reconciliation meeting

In November last year, Mutharika hosted a reconciliatory meeting but Nankhumwa continued his political estrangement with the party when he strongly refuted a statement made after the meeting that he had “unconditionally withdrawn the defamation case” he filed through the court against four senior members of the party — Francis Mphepo, Brown Mpinganjira, Zellia Chakale and Charles Mchacha.

During the reconciliatory meeting, Mutharika invited Nankhumwa and fellow party presidential aspirants — Msaka, Paul Gadama; Dalitso Kabambe; David Mbera and Joseph Mwanamveka.

Meanwhile, Msaka attended the memorial service and tombstone unveiling of one of Malawi’s freedom fighters Dr. Wellington Manowa Chirwa, who died on June 4, 2004 at the age of 88 that took place at Kande in Nkhata Bay.

Msaka at the memorial service

The freedom fighter was a member of the Nyasaland African Congress and Deputy Minister of Defense, Harry Mkandawire — who is also MCP Vice President — graced the event as well as former vice-president Khumbo Kachali and other political party leaders.

In his speech, Msaka described the occasion as historic occasion, “to remember, honour and immortalise one of this nation’s gentle giants and heroes ever to have lived”.

“On this day, with perhaps less fanfare, pomp and ceremony than this occasion deserves, we are creating an opportunity for the historians to rewrite the script and narrative of this country’s pre-independence and post-independence events.

“For it is men and women like Dr. Wellington Manowa Chirwa whose version of the events complements and completes the truth. It is the records kept by people like Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa that will correct some of the distortions and exaggerations. And it is the memories of you, living family and friends of people like Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa, that must be recorded in time before the evidence is lost forever.”

He went on to say that as a young man, he always suspected that the country’s citizenry only knew half the story of events of the years leading to the national independence and the years that followed.

Late Manowa Chirwa

“My suspicions were confirmed when I met Dr Wellington Nanowa Chirwa during my years as Malawi’s High Commissioner in London. He unravelled the story of our struggle for independence, including our attainment of independence, in a manner that often captivated me, but sometimes infuriated me.

“Before my own eyes was a man who knew and understood our country’s history. Before my own eyes was a man who knew and understood where we got it right and where we got it wrong. Before my own eyes was the man who knew, walked and dined with the other heroes of our struggle.

“Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa extended to me a hand of friendship inspite of the significant separation in our years of birth. But meeting in London at the turn of the century and the millennium — and separated in age by 43 years — Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa extended to me a hand of true friendship that still chills me to this day.”

He continued to idolize Manowa Chirwa, saying he treated him as his own father; listened to him and watched him like a son would listen to a loving father.


He also took cognizance that Manowa Chirwa wrote an autobiography, which covers his childhood and “self-conscious days on these beatiful Kande beaches, to his days as head of the African Churches Council for Immigration and Social Justice (ACCIS) in the United Kingdom”.

“There is a lot in between. He discusses epic events such as the imposition of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the establishment of the Monckton Commission with the unequalled familiarity of someone who was there.

“But Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa knew much more than what is in the book, and told me that much more. The book is not a complete representation of the information that he held.”

After leaving London at the end of his tour of duty in December 2003, Msaka said Manowa Chirwa, gave him his walking stick which he almost always carried, saying “he did this with a lot of symbolism — he did this with very few words, but with the same message in his eyes. I shall never forget that moment.

“In the intervening years, I have lost a lot of personal items. I have boarded off lots of extra baggage. But I have held that walking stick close to my heart, and always within sight.

“Today, I have brought with me to this occasion that walking stick. I have no intention of returning it to the family. I have brought it as a symbol of my everlasting bond with Dr Wellington Manowa Chirwa.

“Above all, I have brought it as a powerful reminder to me of that unspoken message that remains with me,” signed off Msaka.