Rumblings of confusion are refusing to die in Malawi’s oldest political party, the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as its two senior members Felix Jumbe and Jessie Kabwira are said to be sidelined from party events by direction of leader Lazarus Chakwera.
Last Sunday the two who are members of Parliament for Salima Central and North respectively were asked not to attend a political rally which party President Lazarus Chakwera was addressing in their District of Salima.
Jessie Kabwira acknowledged to a Maravi Post reporter saying, “It is true that we were warned against attending the function for no reason a warning we ignored”
“We found it out of order to boycott a meeting addressed by our president within our district,” echoed Jumbe.
According to Jumbe who has described himself as open minded told our reporter that some officials from the party would like to frustrate his political ambitions and career.
“If somebody thinks that they will make me resign from the party by cornering me then they have failed because I am a full time farmer who doesn’t mind”.
He added that during the rally some of his supporters were sprayed with paper spray and even the former district chairperson whom he only named as Mapulesi was also chased from the rally for sympathizing with him.
Meanwhile MCP spokesperson Dr Jessie Kabwira did not give the party’s position saying because her supporters were also assaulted at the rally which compromises her neutrality on the issue.
She referred this reporter to Mapulesi who was also unceremoniously removed from his position for siding with the two.
Recently the party re-allocated the two from their front seats in Parliament to back benches.
The Rise of Lazarus Chakwera
Chakwera a new comer to Malawi Politics has risen very fast in the MCP. It appears from nowhere. He admitted that he joined the MCP as it was the only vehicle that would allow him to lead it. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera (born 5 April 1955) is now the President of Malawi’s Main Opposition Party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) after dethroning John Tembo. He is serving as the leader of opposition in the national assembly. He was the Malawi Assemblies of God President from 1989 to 14 May 2013.
Chakwera was born in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi on 5 April 1955. He was born to a subsistence farmer in the outskirt of Lilongwe city. Two of his brothers born before him died in infancy due to high infant mortality rate. His father, believing that he would live gave him the name Lazarus as the Bible character who was raised from the dead.
He is an only son with surviving sisters. Lazarus Chakwera is married to Monica and together they have four children and grandchildren.
Surprise Rise to Power
He worked as an instructor at the Assemblies of God School of Theology from 1983 to 2000 where he became the Principal in 1996. He was the co-director and a lecturer at All Nations Theological Seminary. Since 1989 to date he has been at the helm of Malawi assemblies of God presidency.
On 14 April 2013 he took many by surprise when he declared his intentions to run at a Convention of an opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as a president while still maintaining the Assemblies of God Presidency. His landslide victory at MCP convention went down in history of Malawi as the first of its kind of any political party in Malawi.
Lazarus Chakwera’s interest in politics became known to the public on 9 April 2013 when rumors of his interest to join the presidential race of the MCP were on the online media. The rumors were confirmed later to the public on 14 April 2013. Chakwera later submitted his nomination papers while still at the helm of the Malawi Assemblies of God.
The MCP convention slated for 27 April 2013 was later postponed to 10 and 11 August where he was elected as the president of MCP and he represented the party in the 2014 general election where he came second beating former President Joyce Banda. He however lost the Southern part of the country to eventual winner Dr. Peter Mutharika who he will likely face in 2019 If he will still be the leader of the MCP as he has to content with the likes of feisty Jessie Kabwira.