The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elective convection scheduled for July 1 to 3 at Comesa Hall in Blantyre will see the party’s heavyweights competing with each other in various positions

Among other notable faces, Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa is set to challenge former minister of Agriculture George Chaponda for the position of vice-president for the Southern Region.

Nankhumwa, who is the incumbent national director of elections for the party, confirmed the development to the Daily Times on Monday.

“I can confirm; it is what it is. That’s what people have been telling me for a long time. I have been advised for a long time. I have not heard about anyone else who is contesting but I am aware that he [Chaponda] will defend his position,” Nankhumwa said Chaponda’s personal assistant who picked up Chaponda’s mobile phone said he [Chaponda] was in a meeting.

“He is in a meeting. I will pass the message. He will get back to you when he is out of the meeting,” he said.

Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is the convention’s chairperson, said he did not have the full list of contestants but confirmed that members of the party have started collecting nomination forms from the DPP secretariat.

“What I can tell you is that every position will be contested for. I do not have the full list of names as we speak but I will compile the list and you will know [names of] the people who will take part during the convention,” Dausi said.

President Peter Mutharika’s former personal assistant, Ben Phiri, confirmed that he is contesting for the positon of national director of elections.

“Initially, reports were that I would contest as vice-president for the Southern Region; people wanted me to contest for that position, I had not made my decision on the matter. So I decided to go for a national position and not a regional position and, so, I will contest for the position of national director of elections,” Phiri said.

But inside sources in DPP also disclosed further that Uladi Mussa wants to contest against incumbent Hetherwick Ntaba as vice-president for the Central Region, secretary general Grezeldar Jeffrey will battle it out with Clement Mwale, Samuel Tembenu and Wictor Msongazaudzu Salinjeni while publicity secretary Francis Kasaila will have to defend his position against Nicholas Dausi and Esther Mcheka-Chilenje.

Jappie Mhango will battle it out with Henry Mussa, Joseph Mwanamvekha and Rashid Gaffar for the position of treasurer.

Chancellor College-based political analyst Ernest Thindwa said a convention is necessary considering its purposes, which include a review of the political programme which a party wants to adopt for its campaign.

“In the case of DPP, it is a necessity and a positive development; they need to have a convention. Unfortunately for political parties in the country, there isn’t genuine competition for positions, especially for the position of president.

“Many people do not express interest in challenging the incumbent. And that is the case with DPP. I want to believe that nobody will express interest in challenging President Peter Mutharika,” Thindwa said.