Professor Peter Mutharika at one of his rallies in his home village of Thyolo East constituency. His popularity is reported to be giving sleepless nights to Vice President Joyce Banda and Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda.
By Lucy Liponda
Campaign for a successor to incumbent Malawi President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gone vicious with some of the aspiring candidates going a mile further to damage the reputation of other rival unconfirmed presidential aspirants.
Our sources have revealed that so far three camps have emerged in the ruling party and these are of incumbent country Vice President Joyce Banda, Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda and that of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika is a lawyer by training and younger brother to President Bingu wa Mutharika, the other competitor Joyce Banda is a long time women entrepreneurship campaigner whilst Chimunthu Banda is a trained secondary school teacher.
Peter Mutharika has a doctorate degree at international law, Joyce Banda has a first degree in women adolescence and Chimunthu Banda has a diploma in education.
Our informants in the ruling party disclose that the two Bandas though working in isolation are spending all their efforts in fighting the president’s brother who they feel has an upper hand in the competition.
“In fact they feel allowing a clean campaign to take place, they fear Peter Mutharika would walk away victorious,” said our source who is also a member of the ruling DPP’s National Governing Council.
The source disclosed that there was a lot of infighting which has just turned nasty with all sorts of stories being prepared to tarnish the image of the strong candidate, Peter Mutharika.
“You have heard of stories about his American citizenship, you have heard about these allegations of him being homosexual just because he is a widower, you have heard stories of him alleging he holds too much power in both government and the party and there will be a lot more stories to come all targeted at Professor Peter Mutharika,” he said.
Our source disclosed that all these campaigns being propagated by Vice President Joyce Banda and Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda are aimed at weakening Peter Mutharika who they think can relent the competition.
“There is a lot of underground work being carried out to weaken the young Mutharika but I don’t think this may yield anything at the end of the day because he is such a force to recon with both locally and internationally,” said the source.
A political scientist at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba has cautioned the ruling party’s aspiring presidential candidates to resist from conducting a malicious campaign saying the party stands to be the biggest loser at the end of the day.
“It is easier to smear mud on a vehicle but removing it it’s not that easy. The character assassination campaigns being propagated by Chimunthu Banda and Joyce Banda on Professor Peter Mutharika if proven may only play badly for the ruling party in the long run,” said the analyst who pleaded for anonymity.
When contacted for comment, Professor Peter Mutharika said that he is not aspiring for any other position apart from concentrating on his job as Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister and Member of Parliament for his Thyolo East constituency.
Vice President Joyce Banda’s spokesperson Ruth Govati refused to speak on her bosses political ambitions saying she only responds to issues related to her office as Vice President of the country.
Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda’s number could not be picked the five times we called his two mobile phone numbers.
DPP Secretary General Binton Kuntsaira said that his office has not sanctioned any campaign for presidential aspiring candidates in the ruling DPP saying 2014 is such a long way to go.
“Nobody is campaigning for the presidency in our party and if there are any then it’s not to my knowledge after all 2014 is too far,” he said.
President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika’s second 5 year term of office comes to and end in 2014 when he would have finished his constitutionally required 10 years in power-Malawi Digest.