Founding member of ruling DPP and Blantyre Rural East MP Henry Dama Phoya (HDP) says he could not endorse President Bingu wa Mutharika’s brother, Peter, to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2014 before a credible convention.
Phoya, 44 also kept his cards close to the chest when he was asked by presenter on Capital FM Straight Talk host, Brian Banda, if he harbours ambitions of becoming a torch bearer of the DPP.
The former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister said the DPP already selected its presidential candidate through endorsements and there should be no reason for one to aspire when the convention will only rubber stamp the nominated person.
“If you have been following events in the country I think the DPP has taken a position who should l present it in that particular area,” said Phoya.
“Anyone with intelligence in their head should completely rule out. I think the DPP has already a [presidential] candidate,” he said.
Asked by Banda in his style of tough probing questions, whether he would support Peter Mutharika, the President’s brother to be the candidate of DPP, Phoya said he will only support a candidate who will be democratically elected.
“I will answer that question when DPP holds a convention where a level playing field is going be provided,” he said.
Put to him if he has refused to endorse the President’s brother, Phoya responded: “It will be wrong because I haven’t stated whether I am endorsing him or I am not endorsing him.”
He however insisted that he would not join the chorus of DPP members who have been endorsing Peter Mutharika outside the convention.
“I will not do so, because I feel that by doing that, we are actually making DPP less attractive to people. At the end of the day it’s the people who will decide,” said the eminent lawyer.
He said such endorsement tend to decampaign DPP and said he would not want to be party to that.
Asked if DPP is still enjoying its popurality as evidenced by a landslide victory in 2009 polls, Phoya conceded he party has lost popurality.
“If we could have a credible pollster in this country, someone who could run an opinion poll, I am sure they could come with a result that our [DPP] popurality rating has dropped somehow,” he pointed out.
He exonerated himself to the circumstances that have contributed to the drop of popurality.
“I would say because I have to be frank that since 2009 I haven’t been at the centre of decision making process in the DPP and most of the time I also get to hear about certain policies just like everyone else in the country,” said Phoya.
“I don’t know who is coming up with these policies, from where these policies are emanating, I am not too sure.”
“I have resigned myself to my fate in so far as the DPP is concerned. I am not at all aggrieved, I don’t feel aggrieved I am just watching events as they unfold as everybody else.”
On remarks by former cabinet minister and close ally of President Mutharika, Davis Katsonga, has resigned from DPP that the governing party is now “a sinking titanic”, Phoya said it was up to Malawians to judge.
The ‘man-of-the-season’ however called on government to “reciprocate” the goodwill of the “people of this country [who] overwhelming voted for the DPP” by governing in their best interest.
“I think whether the party remains united or not is dependent on whether the party will continue churning out pieces that goes against the grain of what most people in Malawi feel it’s right. If we can minimise that I can assure you the party will remain up to 2014. But if we keep on bringing out all these controversial issues, issues that are unfair in the interest of ordinary Malawians then the future doesn’t look too good for the party,” Phoya warned.
The lawmaker told the radio he is currently reading the biography of President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, his political idol—(Reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times)