LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)—As 2019 general elections are fast approaching, time seems not to be on the side of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as until now the party is failing to put the house in order, with the latest being the adamant behavior displayed by the district chairpersons who have vowed to hold emergency convention, disregarding the high court ruling.
There have been internal squabbles in MCP since 2015 and some members dragged the party leadership to court, seeking a legal solution for the leadership wrangles.
The disgruntled MCP members who include district chairpersons who were fired on grounds of insubordination filed a court injunction through their lawyer Wesley Namasala stopping the party from holding district elections which were embarked in 2016.
However, giving a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Charles Mkandawire dismissed the interlocutory injunction, thereby giving the party’s leadership a go ahead to hold the district elections.
The judge concluded that the issue brought before the court was a
political matter which needed also political solutions.
But in a seemingly no retreat, no surrender approach, the district chairpersons have disregarded the court ruling by setting 3 to 5 March, 2017 as the dates for the emergency convention aimed at sorting out the leadership wrangles rocking the party.
The embattled members have also appointed the party’s administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya as the interim president for the party replacing Lazarus Chakwera whom they accuse of reintroducing dictatorial leadership in the party.
The grouping has also warned second deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka not to speak for the party arguing his position is not recognized by the 2013 convention.
Addressing the news conference on Tuesaday in the capital Lilongwe, the chairmen while welcoming the High Court ruling wholeheartedly, disclosed that the political approach to the matter was to hold convention than leaving the whole responsibility to the party’s NEC or Chakwera.
The members argued that going by the High Court ruling, Chakwera erred in putting strange faces in the MCP’s ranks contrary to convention and constitution mandate of the party which the court failed to resolve.
The chairmen, therefore, set March 3 to 5, 2017 as dates for min-convention dismissing the current party’s NEC that its mandate was over until the new team is ushered ahead of 2019 elections.
When asked if the convention’s timing was right considering that such event requires financial support, the chairperson hinted that the party belongs to all members saying they will meet costs for the convention.
“The battle is over after two years fighting in court. Now it’s time to use political solutions over this matter that only convention was the best way to end squabbles in the party.
“Whether one wants or not we are going to an emergency convention from March 3 to 5, 2017 to have new MCP NEC ahead of 2019 elections. This means that Dr. Chakwera is not MCP leader. All matters to do with the party will be taken over by Administrative Secretary Chidaya until the convention is done.
“All resources are in place for this convention. We are therefore urging the 2013 NEC to put house in order for the convention as we will have new leaders to take us through the next elections”, said Amosi Chanza, MCP Chikwawa district chairperson who speak on behalf of
MCP Administrative Secretary Chidaya declined to comment on the chairmen’s declaration of dismissing Chakwera as the party leader and plans to hold convention.
MCP’s Dedza East chairman Lackson Nkhamalatha and 26 others from Dowa, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Mzuzu, Chikwawa, Mchinji, Salima, Mwanza, Machinga, Mangochi and Nkhatabay districts dragged the party to court in October in 2015 following a National Executive Committee (NEC) reshuffle by the party’s President Chakwera made in August 2015.
The disgruntled chairpersons blame Chakwera for apparently giving more powers to Members of Parliament (MPs) and not respecting constituency, district and regional committees therefore challenged MCP President not to conduct meetings or elections until a convention is held.
Consequently, MCP NEC fired the disgruntled regional and district chairpersons who were part of the movement whom eventually went to court to challenge the party including the continual call for fresh convention.