They say time is a river, it does not stop flowing. Like a river, the clock is fast ticking for the former ruling Democratic Progressive party (DPP) to finally exorcise its leadership succession demons as former President, Peter Mutharika, who is also the party’s President will retire next year after serving his second and final term. That is according to the constitution of the party.
So far, there have been several names that have come forward to show interest to take over from Mutharika as DPP President, and also the party’s torchbearer in 2025. Will that person be Kondwani Nankhumwa, or Dalitso Kabambe, Joseph Mwanamveka, or Paul Gadama, George Chaponda, or Bright Msaka?
Indeed, the public discourse has lately been awash with debate about who would be Mutharika’s successor in the DPP. There has been a lot of posturing and machinations by different individuals and factions to place themselves or their preferred candidate in a better position to take over.
One thing is clear for sure and that is the individual who will succeed Mutharika will have to go through an election process at a national convention in keeping with the DPP constitution. Eligible voters or delegates to the convention are drawn from the party structures from the constituency, district and regional levels across the country.
What it means is that after meeting the necessary nomination requirements, the next President of the party will have to appeal to a larger number of delegates at the national convention.
Many political pundits believe that Kondwani Nankhumwa, the incumbent Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, is the man the DPP can look up to in its pursuit to regain state power in 2025. They believe Kondwani Nankhumwa has demonstrated remarkable political maturity during the time that many senior leaders and members are engrossed in petty internal squabbling.
Kondwani Nankhumwa has demonstrated that he can command a large following with his often unifying speeches. During his public political rallies, including at Mgona in Lilongwe and at Nyambadwe in Ndirande, Blantyre, recently, Kondwani Nankhumwa decried the attitude by some party leaders who sow seeds of disunity amongst the DPP faithful, saying such attitude could cost the party heavily at the next polls in 2025.
Clearly, Kondwani Nankhumwa seems to be forward-looking and above board level of politics. Nankhumwa, who also serves as DPP Vice President (South) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Mulanje Central, has noticeably displayed loyalty to party leader Mutharika and the larger vision of the DPP.
He does not condone politics of hate and admonishes anyone who propagates or incites political violence regardless of their political extraction.
Kondwani Nankhumwa’s ability to connect with the youths in this country is an asset for the DPP, especially in view of the fact that a majority of registered voters in Malawi are youths.
As Southern Region Vice President for the DPP, the party’s main support base, it appears Kondwani Nankhumwa is fully aware of the responsibilities that he has to ensure that this level of support is sustained.
He knows what ought to be done so that people in the region should retain the feeling of belonging to the party and that they do not become disfranchised. Kondwani Nankhumwa is also articulate and knows what must be said to the people and at which times.
Although Kondwani Nankhumwa is young and appeals mainly to the youths, it does not take away the fact that he is a very experienced politician with a detailed institutional memory of the DPP having risen through the ranks of the party to become Vice President for the South.
Kondwani Nankhumwa has served in the public service as Deputy Cabinet Minister and Cabinet Minister for Information, Local Government and Rural Development, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. In Parliament, he was appointed by President Mutharika during the DPP government as Leader of Government Business in Parliament (Leader of the House). He is currently Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
In a nutshell, Kondwani Nankhumwa has a good track record, as a politician. He is the true servant of the people and seems poised to take over the leadership mantle.
IT IS A MATTER OF TIME!