Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters Monday chanted and sang songs of praise for Vice-President Saulos Chilima, asking him to stand as Member of Parliament in the city.
The supporters, clad in party colours, alighted from three 15-tonne trucks and camped outside Chilima’s Area 12 official residence, where they sang and chanted for over 30 minutes, eyewitnesses said.
The supporters only left after Chilima came out of the residence to join President Peter Mutharika for the official opening of the Tobacco Auction Floors.
Frank Chimsewu, a driver who has been operating heavy-duty vehicles that ferry building materials within the city and witnessed the drama, said he was surprised to see three 15-tonne trucks carrying DPP supporters who were chanting party songs in support of Chilima.
Another witness, James Kana, said he was very surprised to see the vehicles branching off to the Vice-President’s house Monday.
“I always work from here and I have not, in four years, seen DPP supporters coming here, dancing or chanting songs. I was very surprised,” Kana said.
This comes days after former first lady, Callista Mutharika, tore into the party’s leadership and endorsed Chilima for president, saying her in-law, President Peter Mutharika, cannot win next year’s elections.
Her frank talk, however, has irked many DPP loyalists, who are reportedly threatening her. It has also brought to the fore the leadership quagmire the party finds itself in.
Party secretary general, Gresselder Jeffrey, could not be reached for comment yesterday as she was reportedly attending a meeting.
The ruling party is yet to announce the date for its elective conference, which is expected to resolve leadership issues in the party.
Insiders say that the party has three factions; the Chilima faction, the Ben Phiri team and the Kondwani Nankhumwa camp. Embattled DPP vice president for the south, George Chaponda, is also still in the run.
But yesterday, during the opening of the auction floors, Jeffrey told the public that Mutharika and Chilima will run on the same ticket come 2019.