DPP vice-president for the South Kondwani Nankhumwa
* Some party hierarchy members were deliberately not sending him invitation letters for the party National Governing Council
* When Mutharika asked of his absence, he was told the Leader of Opposition never bothered to honour the invitation
* The impasse was resolved when Mutharika invite him to a private meeting
* Thereafter to a DPP rally in Mangochi where it was announced that everything was now water under the bridge
By Duncan Mlanjira
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who vows that he will win the Party’s presidency during convention scheduled for July this year, disclosed that some senior members of the party deliberately set him in collision course with the the incumbent President, Peter Mutharika.
Speaking with Times Exclusive programme on Times Television on Saturday evening, Nankhumwa said some party hierarchy members were deliberately not sent him invitation letters for the party’s National Governing Council and that when Mutharika asked of his absence, he was told the Leader of Opposition never bothered to honour the invitation.
Following the unrelenting leadership wrangle that came to the fore some three years back, Mutharika decide to host a reconciliatory meeting in November 2021 with all aspiring party presidential candidates — Nankhumwa; Paul Gadama; Dalitso Kabambe; David Mbewe; Bright Msaka and Joseph Mwanamveka — but the political differences never abated.
In the interview with the programme’s host, Brian Banda, Nankhumwa stressed that Mutharika believed that the vice-president was snubbing the important party caucuses until he decided to invite him to a private meeting at his personal retirement residence, the PAGE House in Mangochi, where he explained that he never was receiving any invitation.
Nankhumwa further said the two came to an amicable reconciliation such that the incumbent DPP president officially invited him to a party rally in Mangochi where it was announced that everything was now water under the bridge between Nankhumwa and the party’s leadership wrangle.
The Mulanje Central MP said he never harbored any animosity against Mutharika, saying under him he has served in several ministerial portfolios of Information; Agriculture; Local Government; Foreign Affairs and that the party first entrusted him a deputy leader of Parliament and elevated to Leader of Opposition.
He thus said he is set to lead the party in order to carry on the good principles that former State President, late Bingu wa Mutharika set when forming the DPP, in whose tenure of office Nankhumwa served as deputy Foreign Affairs Minister.
“Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika — may his soul rest in peace — formed the DPP on solid foundations of development principles, which I want to continue with to serve the country better,” he said.
Asked of the rumours circulating that if he would lose the presidency at the DPP convention, he would form his own party, Nankhumwa emphasized that the question of losing does not arise and maintained that he has no plans of forming his own party nor has any ambition to join any other.
He also said he hasn’t yet started campaigning amongst the convention delegates to be considered for the party presidency and promised that once he would, people should expect a major political storm.
He also maintained that he had never tasted any political election defeat in his life and he is very confident that he will take over the DPP presidency at the convention.
He also dismissed rumours when put across to him by Brian Banda that Peter Mutharika was not grooming him when he was being entrusted with running affairs of the government when the then State President travelled outside the country.
Asked if he would contest against Peter Mutharika if the incumbent decided to contest, Nankhumwa refused to speculate, saying since Mutharika hadn’t yet declare such interest, thus he cannot make any decision until when it would be official that Mutharika would contest.
He, however, maintained that once he wins the party presidency he would surely win the national leadership, saying the current administration has failed to manage the economy currently under crisis.
When put across to him that the President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration justifies that the current challenges being faced are due to the effects of the CoVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, Nankhumwa emphasized that a good leader is identified as one when he manages the economy amidst any global challenges.
“The economic problems and challenges that people are facing — especially the people people in the rural areas — never took place during the DPP reign,” he said.
Of the six DPP presidency aspirants, it is Nankhumwa, Dalitso Kabambe and Bright Msaka who have come to the fore.
In August last year, Mzati Radio & TV online reported that Msaka — who is DPP Vice-president for the Eastern Region, reaffirmed his intention to contest for the party presidency, saying he wants to bring the party back to its glory for the 2025 national presidential election.
The online publication further said Msaka has pledged to continue with development plans it had prior to being wrestled of the national presidency in the 2020 fresh presidential election.
Meanwhile, just two days ago, Kabambe — who is former Reserve Bank Governor — criticised the Tonse Alliance’s decision to embark on forex auction, saying “this is another step in a wrong direction”.
“It is the lack of financial prudence and sound economic principles that has forced this administration to resort to this measure.As it is, we can simply say that the Kwacha is being devalued silently with the government opting to heap the blame on the private banks.”
He added that once the Kwacha would eventually get devalued, the government would blame it on the banks, saying: “The ignored reality is that all this has been worsened by the rampant corruption, borrowing appetite, needless payouts and all the shoddy economic principles this government implemented in 2020.
“When these things happen, people ask kuti ndiye a boma angatani (what should the government do? The truth is that there are no shortcuts to fixing the situation.
“What we need now is to build systems that can attract investment. Sadly, the first step is fixing the same economy. Ndipo mmene taonera mu zaka izi, fixing the economy the MCP way is a dangerous way. It leaves prices skyrocketing and basic goods not being available.
“We should get back to the drawing board. Start all over pulling apart the mess these people have created. To say they can fix by doing this and that, you may lie. The solution lies in overhauling the whole system.
“Get a capable leader to steer this ship — one who can have rich discussions with his economic advisors and fully understands the depth of any decision he makes. Because even if you bring whatever expert here, as long as the leader is cosy to the corrupt and can’t take the crucial decisions let alone implement his own austerity measures ndiye palibe chochitika (nothing positive can happen).”