Former President Arthur Peter Mutharika has intensified his outreach to the Democratic Progressive Party rank and file to canvass support ahead of next year’s convention where he intends to get endorsed as torchbearer for the 2025 Presidential election.
Investigations this publication carried out show that the 82-year old leader has been meeting regional and district leaders at his Mangochi PAGE House on weekly intervals.
“Just last week we were invited to Mangochi where the Professor (Mutharika) sought our support at the forthcoming convention. He is now determined to stand again,” said one of our sources from Lilongwe who attended one of the meetings.
It is at the back of the said meeting that the DPP is rolling out rallies across the country to start selling APM’s bid for 2025. First rally takes place this coming weekend in Area 25.
Mutharika is also said to be inviting chiefs from the Lomwe Belt (Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe) where his DPP enjoys support. Other chiefs however have distanced themselves from him despite numerous invitations.
On reasons that have forced the old politician to return, the source pointed at ‘misguided perception’ as the main motivation.
“People are lying to him that he can dislodge President Chakwera. He seems to be falling for the trick because some people are cheering for him when he travels especially in Blantyre. My conviction is that they are misguiding the old man,” he said.
Meanwhile, tongues are wagging among other presidential hopefuls for the party who have expressed their frustration over Mutharika’s planned move.
The source also said Mutharika’s plan B is to have his wife Getrude stand on the ballot in an event that he chickens out on eleventh hour.
Meanwhile, three other heavyweights who have already expressed interest to vie for the party’s presidency feel vexed by Mutharika’s plans.
The trio include ex-ministers Bright Msaka, and Joseph Mwanamvekha as well as former Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor Dalitso Kabambe.
At some point, political scientist Mustafa Hussein, who also teaches at Chancellor College, gave Kabambe 50-50 chances to win at the convention, saying in his role at the central bank he was close to DPP party leadership.
But Peter Chisi, who works as director of civil and political rights at Malawi Human Rights Commission but speaking in his personal capacity, said he would give Kabambe 20 percent chance to win.
Indications are all over that the move by Mutharika will also be challenged by party supporters most of who want a new face to lead the party in 2025.