DPP set for convention

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DPP set for convention
DPP set for convention

By Cathy Maulidi:

 

Africa-Press – Malawi. Political analysts hope that immediate-past governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will ultimately resolve disagreements that have beset the party for some time during its elective convention slated for August 17 to 18 2024.

Shadrick NamalombaDPP announced dates for the convention, to take place in Blantyre, through a statement issued Monday by the party’s spokesperson Shadric Namalomba.

The statement says the conference will serve as a platform for DPP members to come together and make crucial decisions about the party’s future.

It stresses that the primary agenda of the convention will be the election of leaders, including the party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election.

“It is an opportunity for members to engage in healthy debates, discuss pertinent issues and ultimately elect leaders who will effectively lead the party towards success,” the statement reads.

It further states that all members, regardless of their positions or affiliations, will have an equal chance to contribute to and participate in the decision-making process.

It is unclear if more presidential aspirants within the party will challenge its leader, Peter Mutharika, who has previously shown interest in contesting and has been endorsed for the post on several occasions.

In an interview Monday, good governance and political analyst Wonderful Mkhutche said the convention has the potential to solve DPP’s intraparty problems.

“The party will have people who will be vital in organising its agenda for next year’s elections.

“Seemingly, Mutharika will be elected as the leader and torchbearer for the 2025 election. However, the party should immediately start thinking of replacing him as he may not be a long-term plan,” he said.

Mkhutche further tipped the former governing party to use the convention as an opportunity to review its constitution to correct noted challenges.

He opined that the “many vice presidents” that the party has created a power struggle situation within DPP.

In its structure, the party has vice president posts for Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern regions.

“The convention should also be an opportunity to redirect the party and not punish adversaries. The party cannot afford these battles as it needs more energy to position itself for next year’s elections,” Mkhutche said.

Another political analyst, Chimwemwe Tsitsi, also views the elective conference as having the potential to settle disputes within DPP, “especially considering that only those who are still willing to continue being members will take part and possibly become leaders”.

Tsitsi, however, acknowledged that some people tend to leave political parties when they fail to clinch leadership positions at elective conventions.

He still maintained that among those who remain in the party, the likelihood of them leaving, even if they lose at the convention, is low.

“I, therefore, strongly feel that the convention will settle the squabbles associated with DPP for the past four years once and for all, at least ahead of September 2025,” Tsitsi said.

DPP has been embroiled in intra-party squabbles since 2020, when the party lost power to the Tonse Alliance in the court-ordered presidential election.

Some officials, including now-fired secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, argued that Mutharika had done his part and that he should call for an early convention where new leadership would be elected.

Jeffrey, deemed to belong to a camp that was trying to push aside the party’s so-called old guard led by DPP Southern Region former vice president Kondwani Nankhumwa, sparked what became a drawn-out battle in the party.

In January this year, Nankhumwa and several others were fired from DPP over indiscipline.

The Mulanje Central lawmaker blocked the decision with a court order before announcing in May that he was withdrawing the case, including another where he was challenging the party’s decision to remove him as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.

Nankhumwa has since formed People’s Development Party.

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