Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party has announced the endorsement of President Bingu wa Mutharika’s younger brother, Peter, as the party’s torch bearer in 2014 presidential elections.
The party’s National Governing Council (NGC) announced the younger Mutharika’s candidature despite calls from some party members to allow party followers to participate in the election of the presidential candidate at a convention.
Peter Mutharika is currently the minister for Education Science and Technology.
DPP spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba said the party council succumbed to calls by a number of groups of people, both within the party’s hierarchy and outside to endorse the younger Mutharika as heir.
“This decision has been arrived at by the whole NGC after listening to calls from the party’s regional and district committees, as well as other sectors, including members of the clergy,” Mr Ntaba said.
Since the party’s inception in 2005, it has never held any convention and all positions in the party are appointed by the founding leader of the party, President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Since last January, the state-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation has been promoting the candidature of Mr Peter Mutharika.
This early endorsement led to the firing of some party chiefs, including first vice-president Joyce Banda and second vice-president Khumbo Kachale, who openly condemned the selection process.
A Mzuzu University political science lecturer Noel Mbowela faulted the endorsement process, saying it was a sign of panicking.
“The decision is undemocratic. There was supposed to be a convention before endorsement. Whatever justification the party comes up with does not hold,” he said.