DPP Secretary General, Gelzeder Jeffrey
* Announces that Mutharika to retire soon as party president
* Encourages party leaders to attract as many people as possible
* To announce soon the dates of the next National Convention
* “Any registered member is welcome to contest for an NGC position, including that of the party president”
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary General, Gelzeder Jeffrey, who have been reinstated by the court to the position from which she was fired in October, is now exercising her powers and has issued a statement on “steps towards the DPP National Convention”
Jeffrey, together with the party’s vice-president (South) and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa; treasurer general Jappie Mhango; MP for Mulanje West Yusuf Nthenda and several others were fired by the party after leading a revolt against party President Peter Mutharika’s choice of Francis Kasaila as Leader of Opposition, undemocratically removing Nankhumwa.
The DPP Central Committee appointed Samuel Tembenu as secretary general replacing Jeffrey and Joseph Mwanamveka replacing Nankhumwa as VP South — but the renegades sought court intervention which has since reinstated them.
After reassuming office, Jeffrey has told the party hierarchy that former Head of State, Mutharika would soon be retiring as DPP president “after dutifully and honorably serving his constitutional two terms”.
“I would like to commend His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika for his exceptional leadership tenacity,” Jeffrey says in the statement.
“His excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has ably managed to propel the DPP to greater heights after the death in office in 2012 of his brother…the late Bingu wa Mutharika, even when the odds were stuck against him and the dark evil forces were so strong against the party.”
She went on to declare that the DPP would soon be going for an elective conference to choose new National Governing Council (NGC) members including that of the party president to steer the party towards the 2025 national elections.
“The DPP Constitution does not specifically prescribe who should contest for any position in the NGC, including that of the party president,” Jeffrey writes.
“Any registered member of the NGC is welcome to contest for an NGC position, including that of the party president.
“However, the DPP constitution specifically provides under Article 8 (iii) (c) that one of the powers and responsibilities of the National Political Conference is to ‘elect officer holders of the candidates by the Central Committee’.
“Under Article 3 of the same DPP constitution, it is provided that ‘membership of the party shall be open to all citizens of Malawi, of good standing, regardless of race, gender, tribe, religion, physical status or country of residence’.
“Under the same Article 3, it is provided that ‘in order to become a member, a person shall make an application to (a) the Local Area Committee nearest to his or her place of work or residence; (b) the Administrative Secretary in exceptional circumstances’.”
She took cognizance “that the DPP is currently passing through a critical moment and [that] every passing day is very precious as we make strides towards the preparation for the 2025 tripartite elections”.
“The DPP is aware that there lie many challenges on the way to 2025 but we are optimistic that with our collective efforts and unity of purpose, we shall surmount these challenges.”
Jeffrey then urged all DPP members from branch, area, zone, constituency, regional committees as well as the NGC “to open up the party to attract as many people as possible” to join the party in its “collective quest to win the next tripartite elections”.
“As Secretary General, I would like to welcome all new members who have joined the DPP, including those that have expressed to run for various leadership positions.
“As a democratic and progressive organization, the DPP believes that allowing as many people to join it as possible provides the party membership at all levels a broader choice base to select the best leaders from.”
Recently, the DPP’s Southern Region committee welcomed into the party former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor, Dalitso Kabambe and rumors were that he is being touted to be elected vice-president (South) to replace Nankhumwa.
The rumors also insinuated that Kabambe was being marketed by Mutharika to be the torch bearer of the party to run as the State President but these reports were disputed first by DPP regional governor, Charles Mchacha as well as the former RBM Governor himself.
Mchacha had said it was not Mutharika who is eyeing Kabambe to succeed him as party president, saying he had made it crystal clear that he was not taking sides in the succession competition.
In her statement, Jeffrey reminded the members that the DPP is a duly-registered political party in Malawi, whose formation was announced on March 15, 2005 and was formed as a “reliable vehicle for Malawians to attain prosperity, security and justice through genuine democratic choices and principles”.
She said the DPP recognizes the right vision, at the right time, of the father and founder, late Bingu wa Mutharika.
“The late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika’s selfless vision was to establish a new political vehicle for governing based on the genuine tenets of democracy and rule of law.
“Under its constitution, the DPP believes that political stability, peace, good governance, social and economic development can only be achieved under conditions of national unity.”
She said after necessary steps have been made, including logistical arrangements and consultations with the top leadership of the party, she shall communicate to the DPP membership and the entire nation the dates and venue and when and where the next National Convention shall be held.
She cites Article 8 of the party constitution that says the National Convention is the “Supreme Organ of the Party”, which comprises all members of the NGC; 15 regional committee members; 15 district committee members; three duly accredited delegates from all 193 constituencies; all DPP members of Parliament; all DPP City Mayors and Council chairpersons — these being the only accepted and eligible voters at the National Convention.