Monday, April 19, 2010

Fear grips DPP MPs: Anonymous caller asks them, ‘Which camp are you in?’

By Nyasa Times Published: April 18, 2010

There is fear among members of parliament of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Malawi because of anonymous phone calls they are receiving asking them which camp they belong to.

The party is divided into two camps, one supporting President Bingu wa Mutharika and his younger brother Peter Mutharika; the other supporting Vice-President Joyce Banda in the race to succeed the President for leadership of the party and the national Presidency when his  presidential term expires in 2014.

Because of constitutional term limits on the president, President Mutharika is ineligible to run a third time for president and must retire in 2014.

"I received a phone call from an anonymous caller asking me which camp I am in. The caller accused me and three other MPs of belonging to the Vice-President’s camp. I told the caller off," said the MP from Mulanje who did not want his name revealed.

The MP says he told the caller that he supports the DPP.

Another MP said he, too, received a call from a “private number” asking him whether he belonged to Mutharika or Banda.

Said the MP, "I do not know why such calls are coming. Is the party confirming to us that there are indeed camps among us?"

This MP mentioned one lady minister whom he said also asked him if he was for Banda or Mutharika.

"There is anxiety among DPP MPs. One is very careful about what he says. There is no trust among us. You never know whether your close friend is a spy or not," the MP said.

He said DPP MPs were afraid to visit the Vice-Banda lest they be spotted and reprimanded.

"We are afraid to mix with the VP even going to her house. No DPP MP can dare going to the house of the VP," he said.

Relations between President Mutharika and his deputy have recently soured because of the succession issue.

Mutharika recently removed Banda from her position as African Union (AU) Maternity Health Goodwill Ambassador. Government has not given any reason for the decision to fire the VP from this position.

Sources say that First Lady Callista Mutharika is earmarked to replace the Vice President in that position.

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Source: Malawi news | NyasaTimes breaking online news source from Malaw


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