Some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday stormed Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s residence in the capital city to ask him to stand as member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe City Centre.
DPP lawmaker David Bisnowaty is the incumbent MP for the constituency.
The supporters, led by their constituency governor only identified as Mr Ayuda, yesterday went to Chilima’s residence in Lilongwe’s Area 12 suburbs around 8am where they requested an audience with the Vice-President, but were not granted.
In a telephone interview, Ayuda confirmed going with supporters to meet the Vice President over the issue, but said Chilima could not accommodate them because he was scheduled to be at Kanengo Auction Floors to attend the opening of the tobacco market by President Peter Mutharika.
He said: “Yes, it is true we were at the Vice President’s residence, but he couldn’t grant us an audience because he was on his way out to Kanengo.”
When pressed on whether the group booked an appointment prior to their visit, the line went dead and when we tried to call again, the number could not be reached.
The office of the Vice President was not readily available for comment as we went to press.
However, DPP Central Region youth director Rajab Malimba confirmed to The Nation that at least four trucks full of party supporters turned up at the Vice President’s residence, but the people had to be dispersed.
He said he got a call that DPP supporters were outside the gate to the Vice President’s residence, requesting for an audience and he rushed there to handle the situation.
Said Malimba: “When I arrived, there were four lorries and a number of party supporters together with their constituency governor. But we had to disperse them because the Vice President had other pressing engagements and was being delayed.”
According to the youth director, some of the supporters claimed that they had been assured by the party’s director of operations Ben Phiri that Chilima would welcome them.
But Phiri said all he knew was that he was earlier approached by supporters in the constituency to represent them as an MP, but turned down the request as he had already committed to contest in his home area in Thyolo.
He said: “[When] party supporters go to [someone] to ask him to represent them, I don’t know what is news there? The Vice President is a DPP member, he has no criminal record, and resides in the constituency, what is wrong with [being] asked to contest?”
Chilima has recently come under spotlight following remarks by former First Lady Callista Mutharika that the Vice President should be DPP’s presidential candidate in 2019 polls.