December 17, 2010

President fires 'ambitious' vice presidents

President Bingu wa Mutharika has expelled state vice-president Joyce Banda, who was also the party's first vice president, from the party claiming she was creating parallel party structures to position herself for the presidency as the 2014 presidential election campaigns heat up.

President Mutharika has on a number of occasion said that he will pack and settle at his Ndata farm when his tenure expires in 2014. However, the sacking of his deputy has been described as a bid to create no competition for Mutharika's young brother, Peter - a US trained law professor - who is said to be billed to take over the hat from the older Mutharika.

A statement issued by the ruling DPP following a party extra ordinary caucus said Vice President Banda had been fired together with the party's second vice president Khumbo Kachali for working clandestinely against the party's agenda. The expulsions came hard on the heels of a desperate campaign by some DPP members to canvass for president Mutharika's 70 year old young brother to succeed the president.

Championing the campaign is the state-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio and television who are featuring politicians, chiefs, businessmen and religious leaders endorsing the young Mutharika. Both Banda and the younger Mutharika have not publicly expressed their interest in the top job.

Meanwhile, over 500 DPP Banda sympathisers have resigned from the ruling party from the Eastern Region, Banda's political stronghold on Monday announced their resignations following the decision to oust Banda.

A total of 53 village headmen from the area have also expressed disgust over the expulsion. However, DPP spokesperson Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba has dismissed the 500 as non members of DPP. "This only shows that she was indeed running parrel structures", said Ntaba.

Political commentators have said this could be the beginning of problems in the DPP, a party which wrestled power from the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1995 when president Mutharika dumped the party that sponsored him into power in 2004 to form his DPP. (Southern Times)

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