Malawi: Analysts Fault DPP On Firing Members As Chilima Movement Gains Momentum

Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima and President Peter Mutharika.

Political commentators say it is a political miscalculation and suicide for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to fire members amid ongoing leadership squabbles in the party.

About 120 members have been fired just because they have shown interest to support State Vice-President Saulos Chilima.

Political consultant and long-time politician Humphrey Mvula said the firing of DPP district committee officials was a gross political gamble that politicians should avoid.

"It is surprising that the DPP is firing people for simply supporting a member of the DPP not the opposition. It is easy to fire people than to get them. The DPP must know that it has lost more than 200 votes," he said.

Mvula, who has been a senior UDF member and worked with PP, said the solution is not to fire people but for President Peter Mutharika and Chilima talk over the issue.

Political analyst George Phiri from the University of Livingstionia has warned that continued bickering in the DPP may end up killing the party.

Mzuzu-based analyst Emily Mkamanga warned that failure to open up the system could be a recipe for chaos.

"If they will not allow people to compete for the presidency, that will be the end of DPP. There will be a lot of noise, chaos, and some may even get injunctions stopping the whole process. Let the party open up, and people should compete.

"Mutharika himself must stand up and be man enough to face anyone who wants the presidency," she said.

Mkamanga wondered what charges the charges the fired members faced.

Rafiq Hajat another commentator said the mass firing shows lack of intraparty democracy in the DPP.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC) spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole urged tolerance to achieve lasting solution to the ongoing fights.

He said: "That is why the [Catholic] bishops are saying we need intraparty democracy to flourish. It seems we have personalised the parties. They no longer belong to the people. It is very unfortunate that things are happening a year before the elections; the problem is how they are handled."

Mulomole said with "quality leadership" the issues would be handled professionally.

"There is so much greed and emotion. It is normal to differ in families and parties, but you have to resolve the differences."

DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila said the party's infighting was being overblown.

Malawi will hold tripartite elections in May next year to elect the President and Vice-President, 193 members of Parliament and 462 ward councilors.

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