President Peter Mutharika on Thursday failed to officially welcome former secretary general of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Henry Chimunthu Banda amid heightened speculation that he was being earmarked to be running mate to Mutharika in 2019 polls.
The DPP and Office of President and Cabinet on Wednesday announced that Mutharika would officially welcome back Chimunthu Banda from his self imposed political exile after losing the party presidency to Mutharika in 2014.
However, on Thursday, Mutharika held a political meeting at Nkhotakota Boma but Chimunthu Banda was no where to be seen as earlier announced.
Our sources say there is a mist over who will be running mate . With firstly the awkward working relationship between DPP and United Democratic Front (UDF) which gives the assumption that Atupele Muluzi ( who is serving the Cabinet) is the ideal candidate. At the same time whispers are spreading that political wonderboy, Brown Mpingajira is pushing for the name of Chimunthu Banda as he plots his own political interests.
“The DPP is now in disarray. The President seems not to know what to do. He has to pick either Atupele or Chimunthu Banda but the choice seems tough for him,” said our source privy to the DPP conversations.
Both DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi and presidential spokesperson Mgeme KaliLani refused to comment on the matter.
A State House staff in the press team who goes by the pseudo name of Raymond Chikoko said on Facebook that Chimunthu Banda was now out of the list of the people marked for running mate saying the person to be named as running mate will be the apparent heir to the DPP presidency.
Atupele Muluzi was spotted in Mzuzu interacting with DPP supporters just a day after the United Transformation Movement secretary general Patricia Kaliati and her team were harassed and beaten up in Mangochi as they are expected to launch the UTM in the district.
Sources say the thugs who harassed Kaliati and her advance team ahead of the grand UTM launch on Sunday were organised and funded by the DPP/UDF union.
Just hours before the harassment, DPP secretary general Grazider Jeffrey and other DPP officials were addressing meetings in the district.
At the meeting in Nkhotakota, Mutharika said he would emerge victorious over Malawi Congress Party and UTM.
He said the government has lined up a number of development projects for the people in Nkhotakota and Malawi in general.