The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is all out to fight Vice President Saulos Chilima souring the relationship between Chilima and his boss, President Peter Mutharika with gossip galaroe with prominent Chancellor College-based political analyst, Boniface Dulani saying greed and hunger for positions is punctuating DPP politics.
Mutharika is said to have been filled with a lot of gossips that while he is under medical operation in United State of Malawi, politicians in DPP including some Cabinet Ministers were aligning themselves with Vice President Chilima, incase Mutharika was going to be incapacitated.
The President has said publicly thatt some members of his party were busy sharing cabinet positions, saying he now knowa that he was surrounded by some Pharisees and Judas Iscariots because “some people here were busy planning for my state funeral. The day I die, I will let you know. I will call you and let you know that I am now dead.”
And on Saturday, Malawi News report analysed what happened last Sunday at a political rally by DPP at Masintha ground in Lilongwe when President Mutharika called to the podium some cabinet ministers to explain issues related to public service reforms in their ministries but ignored Chilima.
Chilima is chairing the Public Sector Reforms Commission and he was present at the rally but Mutharika did not invite him to say anything on the matter, a gesture is seen to augment the position of sources that all is not well between the two, Malawi News reported.
The paper citing source in DPP claim that there is fricting between Mutharika and Chilima apparently after the President has been fed with a lot of gossips within the system.
niversity of Malawi’s Chancellor College political analyst Dulani argues that most of DPP top brass are not following the ideologies of the party but following Mutharika because he has power.
“That reflects that party loyalty is very fickle. It shows that people follow not because of the party’s ideologies but individuals for survival. People will always fight to be where power is,” said Dulani.
“That shows that there are divisions in the party. Things are not ok in the party because if the people were following ideologies, it would not matter to them if the president was in hospital or had passed on,” said Dulani.
Executive Director for Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod Moses Mkandawire concurred with Dulani that there could be divisions in the party and added that greed has also taken centre stage among the members.
“There are some people who are too greedy thinking of their own survival. They are not there to serve the interests of Malawians,” said Mkandawire.
But in Malawi News, Vice President Chilima downplayed the sour relationship with President Mutharika, saying: “My comment is that it sounds to be a wrong observation. Thank you.”
DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila was also coy to comment on the sour relationship between Mutharika and Chilima created by gossipers including state spies.
“I do not want to discuss personal issues between my two leaders,” he said.
Mutharika picked Chilima from the private sector to be his runningmate in the 2014 elections and most DPP gurus regard him a rank outsider.
Danwood Chirwa, a professor of law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, explains that the direct election of the president and vice-president is not only relevant to the relationship between the two and Parliament; it is also relevant to the important question of succession. If the president dies, becomes incapacitated or is impeached, the vice president is constitutionally expected to ascend to the presidency.
“This arrangement is itself rooted in direct democracy. According to our constitutional scheme, the person who holds the highest political office in the land has to have direct electoral support. One cannot just ascend to that office via a process controlled by elected representatives in Parliament,” he argues.
Mutharika’s elder brother, late president Bingu wa Mutharika had also bad relationship with his vice presidents, starting with Cassim Chilumpha who he accused of plotting to kill him and then Joyce Banda when she refused to support his plans to make his brother Peter Mutharika the President when he came to the end of his term in 2014.
Banda was kicked out of DPP but could not be dismissed from government. She was subjected to a campaign of abuse and was dismissed by Mutharika’s widow, Callista, as nothing more than a market woman. “How can a mandasi (fried cakes) seller become president?” she scoffed.
Now history is repeating itself as now its Chilima’s turn to be dumped .
“The reason why Malawian presidents have tended to marginalise their vice presidents has to do with attempts to domesticate the presidency. Once elected, Malawian presidents tend to think that the office of the president is family property that can be bequeathed to their brothers, sisters, children or other relatives,” noted law scholar Chirwa.
“This mindset goes against the fundamentals of our Constitution. The president has to have direct electoral legitimacy, but a lawfully elected president has no constitutional power to decide for the country who should succeed him. The person elected together with him or her is guaranteed to succeed, and that is because the electorate knew beforehand that this was a possibility,” he added.
Chirwa argues that the issue of in-term succession is fixed and closed by the Constitution.
“The issue of post-term succession relies solely on the electorate. There is no need to fear the vice-president,” he argues.
But Chilima is sitting on the time bomb in DPP, with speculations rife that there are several plots to eliminate him including assassination.
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