A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Cabinet minister has confided in The Daily Times that remarks DPP Secretary General Greselder Jeffrey made on Cabinet ministers from the Northern Region threaten to create some divisions within the ruling party’s ministers in the region.
Barely two months after she said the Northern Region cannot produce a president at a rally in Karonga, Jeffrey last week in Mzuzu also took a swipe at some Cabinet ministers from the region, singling out Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango as the only deserving minister.
“Her remarks disenfranchised the others. They are so divisive and it’s unfortunate they came from such a senior party leader,” said the source who opted for anonymity for fear of repercussions.
The Northern Region has Mhango, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe, Minster of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia and Deputy Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Clement Mkumbwa in the Cabinet.
The DPP SG’s remarks made in Karonga also prompted outrage within the party’s rank and file, prompting President Peter Mutharika at a rally in Mzimba Thursday to take time to douse the political fury among his followers and other people.
The President said the Northern Region can produce a president, a clear contrast to Jeffrey’s earlier remarks.
Mutharika said the Northern Region has a legacy of patriots, citing the likes of Levi Ziliro Mumba who first led the Nyasaland African Congress and King M’mbelwa II who played a pivotal role in fighting colonial rule.
“Unlike what other people say that the North is a dead North, I say the North is alive, it has so much potential, that’s why we are bringing development to the North. It has capable people and one time we will have a president from the North.
“The country continues to derive benefit from the dedicated work of many people from the region such as ministers Goodall Gondwe, Grace Chiumia, Jappie Mhango and others. To say the region lacks leaders capable of leading the country is an understatement,” Mutharika said.
Asked if she still feels the same way after the President’s remarks, Jeffrey said she was speaking specifically on how the ministers work within the party structures.
“I am a blunt person and I am bound to be misunderstood. My remarks were made in the context of how the leaders (ministers) perform at the party level, not in government,” Jeffrey said in a telephone interview on Friday.
On the presidential remarks, Jeffery said in earlier interviews that she was misquoted and misunderstood.