Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima might not be the President in-waiting for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, Malawi24 has been tipped.
According to an analyst who monitors political trends Gibson Kauye, the ruling DPP is currently grooming Minister of Foreign Affairs George Chaponda who is also a Member of Parliament as the next President of the party. However sources in the DPP have refused to endorse the observation.
In an interview with our news analyst, Kauye said that the current trends were pointing to the fact that the DPP was making Chaponda ready for the top seat of Presidency.
“You only have to be blind for you to not see what the DPP is doing,” said the analyst to Malawi24.
Apart from the Malawi and DPP current leader Peter Mutharika delegating all his important assignments to Chaponda, Kauye said that there were a lot of other things that were proving that the party was grooming Chaponda to be Mutharika’s successor.
“The thing is that the party (DPP) is doing everything to raise Chaponda’s profile as he is the next President they are comfortable with. The observations that were made not long ago that Chilima was being sidelined for Chaponda are true despite that the Veep dismissed them,” he said.
He said that currently Chaponda had been left to head the ministry of foreign affairs as the aim was to impress donor countries when the time comes for him to take over.
“Peter Mutharika headed that all important ministry as well and what are the other ministries that he headed? There is justice and education which are the same posts that Chaponda has held in his political lifetime. If you think all this is just coincidence then you are a child in Malawi politics. Chaponda is getting familiarised to the people and positions that matter for a head of state,” said the analyst.
The analyst then challenged Malawi24 (on Monday) to follow the coverage of news at the State broadcaster MBC on the issues concerning Veep Chilima and those concerning the so-called President-in-waiting George Chaponda.
Malawi24 established on the 8pm Wednesday bulletin of MBC television that news of Chaponda attending a summit in Ethiopia was given much coverage than of the Vice President chairing Public Sector Reforms in Blantyre. On the Thursday 8 pm bulletin, the news as well carried an article of Chaponda’s adventures in Ethiopia.
Malawi24 political analyst William Simango said that it was very unsual for MBC to give such a broad coverage to a mere minister.
“Ministers travel all the time and they are not given coverage, sometimes it is only after they return that we get to hear why they travelled there. But Chaponda is certainly getting unusual treatment that he can feature in bulletins of two days over the same meeting,” he said.
He also wondered why MBC had assigned Chaponda a journalist for his international trip.
“This coverage points at one thing, MBC has assigned a journalist to Chaponda. Why is that the case?”
However a source at MBC said the journalist has travelled with Chaponda to cover the African Union Heads of State summit expected to take place from 30 to 31st January which looks as if Mutharika has delegated to Chaponda.
Kauye however said that following the tribal inclination of the DPP, it was only the case that Chaponda had to be groomed to be the next leader.
“DPP can never have any person who is not from the Lhomwe belt to be a leader. It is not only DPP, it is the way politics in Malawi are organised. MCP has its President from the Central region, AFORD was only from the North, UDF was only from the Yao region and the moment they messed up with that order DPP was born. Do you really expect the DPP to give leadership to Chilima from the Central region?” Kauye queried.
Sources from the DPP however dismissed the issue and told Malawi24 that DPP was not grooming any person to replace Mutharika.
“Our torchbearer for 2019 is Mutharika, why would we be thinking about grooming a successor? We are with Mutharika until 2024. It is only at that time that we can talk of a successor,” said a source from within the corridors of power in the ruling party.