Peter Mutharika declares 2014 ambitions
Interim president of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Peter Mutharika yesterday declared himself a 2014 presidential candidate.
At his first rally following the death of his elder brother, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, Peter said, however, that he is not an automatic presidential candidate for the party come 2014. Mutharika, who took over the presidency of the party after Bingu's death, told a highly patronised rally in Thyolo that the party will "soon" hold a convention to decide who will be its torch bearer in the next polls.
"I am a democrat and we will have a convention where we will choose the president of the party, secretary general, treasurer and a presidential candidate.
"If you chose me I will not refuse," said Mutharika, who has all along been the frontrunner for the candidacy in the party. Mutharika, who never said the actual date for the convention, said he is ready to support whoever the party will choose at the indaba as long as it reclaims its lost glory.
"People were saying Bingu imposed me on you. But have you been forced to come here? Did Masangwi (Noel who is also the party's regional governor for the south) force you to come here? I am sure you have come out of your own will.
"So at the convention you will have the freedom to choose whoever you want. But let me say this and make it official that from today I am a presidential candidate.
"I want the world to understand that I declare myself that I will contest at the convention. If you chose someone else I will support him or her, if you chose me I will support myself. What is more important is that the DPP must return into power," Mutharika said. Mutharika further said once DPP returns to power he will make sure that people continue receiving both antiretroviral drugs and subsidised fertilizer.
"We want people to continue receiving both subsidised fertilisers and ARVs (anti retroviral drugs). Bingu brought us all these and to be told to chose one is not fair," he said.
The rally, which attracted thousands of people, was graced by party stalwarts like Wakuda Kamanga, Hetherwick Ntaba, Patricia Kaliati, Jean Kalilani, Noel Masangwi, Nicholas Dausi and over 50 members of Parliament for the party.