There was pomp and colour at the Njamba freedom park on Sunday 11th November 2012 when the opposition political Party DPP held its first rally in Blantyre after the death of its father and founder Bingu Wa Mutharika where more than 70 MPs pledged support for the party.
The rally that was organised with an aim of underlining the party’s’ main agenda and strategy ahead of the sitting of parliament among others, witnessed the coming back of Hon Aaron Sangala of Ndirande in Blantyre who was one of the ministers/ members of parliament that defected to PP soon after the demise of Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika.
Speaking during the rally the party’s leader Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika started his speech by thanking the people of Blantyre for their support during the funeral of the late Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika. He went on to say the rally was organised to assure people that the party is alive and geared towards going back to government.
He announced that the party convention will take place in December and all positions will be up for grabs. He challenged the youth to dare for positions as the party belongs to them. In his 20-minute long speech the professor mentioned the greenbelt initiative, rural economic development and free community colleges as DPP’s main priorities.
He went on to say that when party gets back to government it will introduce a national advisory council on economic affairs that will comprise people from both government and opposition. It will also be open to community leaders and a cross-section of Malawians. This group will act as the advisory council of the executive.
There was ecstasy in the mammoth crowd when the DPP leader mentioned that his government will construct a 50,000 seater stadium in Blantyre soon after getting into office. Some of the promises included free ARVs, roads, continuation of YEDEF program, use of Nsanje port and finishing the five universities that DPP started when it was in government.
Among the speakers was Noel Masangwi, DPP Regional Governor for the south, who challenged the President Joyce Banda, to explain to Malawians how river sand was found in fertiliser bags in Mangochi. In addition to that, Patricia Kaliati, who is Director of Women in the party, promised that DPP parliamentarians will not support the amendment of the law that criminalises gay practices.
Lewis Ngalande, director of youth in southern region who was arrested alongside Masangwi and others on suspicion that they were involved with the death of a polytechnic student, Chasowa, said the arrest has rejuvenated their commitment to DPP as it is clear that it was meant to silence them.
He went on to say that government believes that it can use them to implicate the professor for their own political scores. He assured the DPP leader that should he be arrested for any reason, the DPP youth will stand vigil at whichever prison or jail he is kept until he is released.
Notable faces in attendance were Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, Harry Thomson, Dr Jean Kalirani, Francis Mphepo and Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza.
Commentators have said that the rally at Njamba has raised the bar for political rallies going by the record crowd that attended.