Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has insisted that President Peter Mutharika will not take part in presidential debates scheduled to start on Friday 29.

DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said Malawians should forget about having Mutharika articulating his developments agenda on a televised presidential debates ahead of the May 21 elections.

“President Mutharika will not take part in the debate,” said Dausi.

Media Institute Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter chairperson Teresa Ndanga who is also chairing the taskforce said they are still persuading DPP and the president to make him change his mind by humbling himself and take part in the debate joining the other three.

“We are still engaging with the party to let their presidential candidate take part in the debate,” Ndanga said.

Analysts in the country have argued that the reason given by DPP for its presidential candidate not participating in debate is a cover up, and Mutharika has to reconsider his decision.

Political commentator and Malawi News columnist George Kasakula said any candidate who is shunning away from the debate is telling Malawians to go to hell.

“These candidates are looking for a job and they are fight for one job, Malawians are essentially calling them to an interview. It does not make sense for any candidate to shun away from the interviews it is like telling Malawians to go to hell,” he said.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali said reasons for DPP to pull out from the debate are not genuine and that it is a missed opportunity.

“It is sad that the ruling parties in the country have in recent years shunning such debates,” Munthali said.

Legal expert Thoko Kaime has also squashed DPP for shunning debates saying this has nothing to do with the integrity of the process.

“That’s just new nyusesi (hot air) being peddled by the party,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

During the May 20, 2014 elections, the then incumbent President Joyce Banda shunned the two presidential debates held in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

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