The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) founded by late Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika, has overwhelmingly voted his younger brother Peter as its new leader at a convention held in Blantyre.
Peter Mutharika has been acting as party leader since the death of his brother in April 2012.
Party followers yesterday gave the younger Mutharika an overwhelming vote of confidence with 1,266 votes against 73 votes for his challenger, Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda.
Peter Mutharika is currently facing treason charges arising from allegations that he and others close to Bingu wa Mutharika tried to bloc Vice-President Joyce Banda from taking over power following the president’s death.
In his acceptance speech, Peter Mutharika asked party followers to be united and promised to continue with the development work his brother was pursuing.
“We hope those that have not been elected will remain in the party and fight with us as we push to regain the leadership of this country,” he said.
The election also saw several of those answering treason charges alongside Mr Mutharika win party posts. Billy Banda, director of civil rights organisation Malawi Watch, said the election of Mr Mutharika was a show of defiance by party rank and file to the government over the treason charges it has filed.
“The party supporters have displayed a vote of confidence in [Peter] Mutharika despite a treason case hanging on his head,” he said.
The defeated Chimunthu Banda accepted the outcome of the election that was declared free and fair by officials from Malawi Electoral Commission.