MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-The opposition Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) is yet to abide by the December court order, which directed the party’s leadership to settle for a date of its convention not later than April 2018.
The order was granted when party president, Enoch Chihana, sought temporary relief after some members of the party sued and applied that he be relieved of his duties in AFORD on allegations that he was blocking plans to hold the convention.
Party publicist, Khumbo Mwangulu, told Daily Times that they are waiting for Chihana, who is abroad, to call for a management meeting where they will come up with the date.
“Malawians of goodwill continue to respond positively to our appeal for support and we are optimistic that we will have the convention at a date to be announced later once our president is back in the country,” Mwaungulu said.
He reiterated that the budget for the convention remains at around K30 million, adding that all positions would be up for grabs as people continue to express interest in contesting for positions.
But Chairperson of the Revamp Aford Movement (Ramo), Owen Mumba, said separately that they would be seeking the court’s intervention on the matter soon since Chihana and team remain elusive.
He wondered why the new convention committee is keeping the party in the dark on preparations of the make or break indaba.
“There is nothing that is stopping the convention. The court had ordered the president to call for it not later than April but we are surprised with the deafening silence and, yet, time is running out. So, we want the same court to assist perhaps by just maintaining April 7 2018, which was proposed earlier,” Mumba said.
Mumba decried the development, saying it is a threat to intra-party democracy.
He added that Ramo and unidentified well-wishers had generated enough resources for the indaba which would see party leaders seek fresh mandate from delegates.
For over half a year, there have been sharp divisions in Aford over dates of the convention, with one of the factions, led by beleaguered secretary general Christopher Ritchie— who chaired the convention committee then— initially planning to hold the convention last November.
However, Chihana and sympathisers argued against the same.
Chihana and some district chairpersons claimed that Aford does not have grassroot structures from which to draw delegates for the convention; hence, the need for restructuring.
The divisions further widened after Karonga Central lawmaker, Frank Mwenifumbo, who had just joined the party, announced that he would challenge Chihana for the presidency at the convention.
The mandate of the current National Executive Committee, according to the party’s constitution, expired in September 2017.