Written by Patseni Mauka
In keeping with the tradition of making sure that a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President is a ‘Mutharika’, Gertrude Mutharika is planning to take over as leader of DPP when President Peter Mutharika retires or gets incapacitated. Despite being old and frail, 80-year-old Mutharika is standing for a second term.
Malawi politics is full of party dynasties which are a threat to democracy because leaders are chosen on family reasons not their capabilities. Parties like United Democratic Front (UDF) and People’s Party (PP) are almost at the point of extinction because of unilateral decisions by leaders who feel their families own the parties. UDF belongs to the Muluzi’s, DPP to the Mutharika’s and PP belongs to the Banda dynasty.
The DPP, which in the 2009 general elections scooped a majority of 112 seats in parliament and got 66 percent of the votes for the presidential election, is on the decline with latest research showing that its popularity is way below 25 percent. This is because the party is run like a tribal club and a Mutharika farm.
In what was supposed to be a secret plan, at first, Gertrude Mutharika wanted President Mutharika to select her as running mate, a suggestion that was quickly abandoned because of the realization that Malawians would oppose the terrible idea of having the president and his wife on a ballot paper.
Then she pondered on the idea of having scandalous DPP’s Director of Elections Ben Phiri as running mate to Mutharika. Upon consultation with Mutharika’s other puppet-master bodyguard Norman Chisale, she settled for Everton Chimulilenji because he comes from Chisale’s home district of Ntcheu and is a puppet who can be easily manipulated.
Until the day for presentation of nomination papers, many DPP gurus didn’t know who would be picked as running mate. When Chimulilenji’s name was unveiled, senior DPP members were disappointed and sad. Among the most disappointed faces were Goodall Gondwe, Bright Msaka, Henry Mussa and Kondwani Nankhumwa. Even the foul-mouthed Charles Mchacha could not afford a plastic smile.
A few months after his appointment, there is still evidence that Chimulilenji is overwhelmed. He didn’t expect it and he know he is not good enough for the post. Although DPP is trying so hard to deny it, Chimulilenji is showing all signs of someone trying to seek acceptance from DPP members. Unfortunately, he is not smart enough to conceal his desperation to get accepted.
According to inside sources, with information on the president’s health, Gertrude Mutharika wants to initially have Chimulilenji as president if the president gets incapacitated. Chimulilenji would then choose her as vice president without having to face the electorate. The plan is then to use the position of vice president as a steppingstone to the presidency.
The first lady has become so powerful that government departments can’t offer contracts to any company before her verbal approval. All big contracts are now given to companies related to her or those that have made deals with her. She has become stinking rich although she has no salary or any business that could make her so rich. Among other things, she is now building flats in Lilongwe full of a tarmac road specially built for her flats. She uses her position as first lady to get money using questionable means.
According to The Nation newspaper, in November 2014 Madame Mutharika personally wrote a letter to NAC alongside, National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and Mulhako wa Alomwe asking for funds that had nothing to do with Aids activities. Mutharika asked for K5 million for her Beam Trust, NIB asked for K43 million while Mulhako wa Alomwe was given K9 million.
The paper further reported that these donations came against the background of NAC announcing that it would scale down its funding mechanisms in HIV and Aids due to funding. Civil Society Organization (CSOs) tried to force the first lady to return the money but she refused.
Her current attempt to take over DPP and bid for the Malawi presidency is a continuation of her greed for money. Having easily gotten rich within the last five years, she wants to be the ultimate treasury keeper and fleece Malawi even more. A vote for Peter Mutharika is a vote for Everton Chimulilenji and a big vote for Gertrude Mutharika’s presidential ambitions.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post