Opposition political parties have accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of employing “dirty tricks” in its quest to woe members of other parties to join its membership.
But the DPP has rubbished the claims.
The latest to make such claims is Karonga District Council chairperson, Ernest Mwaluwali, who has defected to the Alliance for Democracy (Aford).
He claimed that when President Peter Mutharika officially commissioned the Chitipa Water Supply Project, he was approached by ruling party operatives who were collecting names of members of other political parties to sweet-talk them into joining the DPP but he snubbed them.
“A paper was circulating at the rally Mutharika held in Chitipa District, soon after he officially commissioned the Chitipa Water Supply Project. I was told that those who would write their names on it would be given a chance to greet the President at the podium. I realised it was a trick and I ignored it,” Mwaluwali said.
Mwaluwali’s claims come at a time when another concerned individual, Maquenda Chunga, made similar claims.
He indicated that, during a developmental rally held in Mzimba District, which was also presided over by Mutharika, he was taken by surprise when his name was announced by DPP secretary general as one of those that had defected to the ruling party.
But Chunga said he had no prior knowledge of what would transpire at the rally.
“After my name was called, I, indeed, went and shook hands with the President because I did not want to embarrass him. It was also a security precaution on my part because I doubt if DPP loyalists would have let me free had I refused,” Chunga said.
Reacting to the accusations, DPP campaign director, Jappie Mhango, distanced the party from such practices.
Mhango said the party has an open door policy that gives everyone the liberty to join or leave the party.
“On the part of Maquenda Chunga, working with, and joining the party are two different things. He did not say he was joining the party but said at Chintheche [in Nkhata Bay] during Mutharika’s stop-over on his way to the Northern Region recently that, as Member of Parliament for the area, he would work with the President and his government,” Mhango said, adding that Chunga is also free to join the party.
He also rubbished claims made by Mwaluwali, arguing that his claims cannot be true because it would pose a security threat if people are called willy-nilly to meet the President on the podium.
Meanwhile, Chancellor College-based political analyst, Mustapha Hussein, has said, if the reports are true, the ruling party’s actions are unethical political tactics.
“A person should never be tricked [into joining a political party] but should willingly join a party of their choice based on one’s principles,” Hussein said.