Lazarus Chakwera today justified his purging of old party loyalties claiming they were in the way of rebranding the party as it prepares to compete in the 2019 General Elections against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other would be challengers.
With a very ruthless hand Lazarus Chakwera Yesterday Fired Felix Jumbe, Denis Nathumba, Lyton Dzombe, Chatinkha chidzanja Nkhoma and Azam Mwale from the party for what he deems as sowing divisions within party ranks.
Lazarus Chakwera also led the charge to suspend its Secretary General (SG) Gustav Kaliwo, Spokesperson Jessie Kabwila and lawmaker Joseph Njobvuyalema while pending disciplinary hearing.
Some Party supporters breathed a sigh of relief. saying it was about time Lazarus Chakwera took this action. A supporter wrote on a social media “General euphoria that action has been taken. A heavy weight has been lifted off Lazarus Chakwera shoulders. He should have done this more quickly and frequently. We do not need crap”.
However it is not so simple, to understand what is happening one has to follow the biography of Lazarus Chakwera. Who seemingly came from nowhere to wrestle the grip of power from formidable foe one John Tembo…?
John Zenus Ungapake Tembo (born September 14, 1932) Served for years as President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Tembo comes from the Dedza District in central Malawi, and he is a teacher by profession. Beginning in the 1960s he was an important politician in Malawi, and he was a key figure in the regime of Hastings Banda (1964–1994). He has been variously described as “physically slight, ascetic, fastidious” and “cunning”. He was replaced as President of the MCP in August 2013 by Lazarus Chakwera.
Lazarus 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.
Lazarus Chakwera worked as an instructor at the Assemblies of God School of Theology from 1983 to 2000 where he became the Principal in 1996. He then became co-director and a lecturer at All Nations Theological Seminary. Since 1989 to until joining politics he was at the helm of Malawi assemblies of God presidency until On 14 April 2013 when 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. However truth be told many party followers had gotten tired of John Tembo’s losing ways and in Lazarus Chakwera who many see as a very fluent orator with a tinge of an American accent, they say a savior to the party. Many people that elected him to that landslide victory have started asking questions about him they should have asked then.
Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma a royalty in the MCP ranks herself joined those calling for the ouster of Leader Lazarus Chakwera. The calls from Chatinkha and the likes of Jumbe followed 20 district chairpersons who held a press briefing in Lilongwe where they accused Lazarus Chakwera of being a dictator who was running the party using parallel structures.
The district chairpersons who constitute more than half of the whole district chairpersonship across the country had been fighting Lazarus Chakwera for month’s through open defiance and legal means to no avail.
The calls got louder as many suspected Chakwera was helping with Peter Mutharika’s agenda while amassing great wealth for himself.
Lazarus Chakwera and his followers have returned the favor by accusing Chatinkha and Jumbe of being paid by the Democratic progressive Party (DPP), and doing its bidding by causing instability in the MCP.
So as Chakwera addressed the Malawi Press releasing the full statement below:
Members of the Malawi Congress Party
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my singular honor and pleasure to address you today after our comprehensive and rigorous National Executive Committee Meeting, yesterday 31st August 2016.
A lot of things have happened nationally and in our Party since I addressed you. It is, therefore, fitting, right and proper that I address fellow Malawians and Malawi Congress Party supporters today.
Yesterday, our National Executive Committee, NEC, met at our National Headquarters here in Lilongwe. The NEC made a number of resolutions, some of which maybe of immediate interest to the general public and Malawi Congress Party supporters in particular.
As a Party, it was resolved that we continue on our path to rebranding as we prepare ourselves for the 2019 General
Elections so that we give Malawians their desired destiny. We have taken cognizant of the suffering of Malawians in all spheres of life: agriculture, health, education, economy, security, social,
etc. It is with that view in mind that as a Party we remain focused on keeping ourselves relevant to all Malawians by re-branding and changing any negative labels that has been associated with the Malawi Congress Party.
As a Party, we are doing all we can to make sure that the Party, as a unified force, faces the 2019 elections prepared as we travel on the road to redeeming this nation.
Malawi Congress Party is a Party that is built on values that formed the foundation of developing this nation as espoused by our founding fathers. These values provide for Unity of Purpose as we remain loyal to the Constitution and laws of the land as we observe the Rule of Law in our pursuit of common objectives that bind us as a nation in discipline and self-control.
It has, however, come to our notice that there have been some elements of indiscipline in the Party thus bring discomfort in our members and the general public at large having hope in the redemptive work that the MCP has embarked on.
Our NEC thus made some bold resolutions to ensure that the Party
is not kept off track. We have had some members who have gone out of the way in a number of areas. Despite efforts to engage our own members to reconcile with them personally and corporately,
no positive results yielded.
According to Article 6(1) of the MCP Constitution, the National Executive Committee may refuse membership to any person who does not share the vision of the Party as contained in the Party’s constitution. Besides, according to Article 8(c) the National Executive may refuse to admit anyone to membership
Furthermore, Article 63(1), says that subject to the authority of the Party Convention the National Executive Committee may make rules and regulations regarding discipline within the Party and such matters which may be necessary in carrying into effect of the
Constitution. As contained in Article 42 “the disciplinary powers shall be vested in the National Executive Committee of the Party subject to the Party Convention”. It is in this regard that the Party made the following disciplinary decisions and pronouncements:
1. Hon. Felix Jumbe, MP
The National Executive Committee received communication from
Salima Central Constituency Committee disowning their Member of
Parliament. The Committee complained of gross indiscipline by Hon. Jumbe. The Committee then called Hon. Jumbe for a hearing three times where during the hearings he promised change. Seeing no change, the constituency committee resolved that the said Member of Parliament cease to be a member of the Party. When the NEC saw the complaints contained in the letter and the procedures taken by the Committee, they were satisfied by the action taken by the Constituency Committee and thus resolved to adopt their action.
2. Hon. Jessie Kabwila and Hon. Joseph Njobvuyalema. As you are all aware, some people were apprehended here at the MCP headquarters with an intent to “takeover” and/or destroy the Party Headquarters. When these people were quizzed, they confessed that there were sent by some 5 Party members: some of whom are holding NEC positions, others, ordinary members. Two of the five were Hon. Jessie Kabwila and Hon. Njobvuyalema.
The matter is in the hands of the Police. Looking at the gravity of the allegation, NEC decided to suspend the two while subjecting them to a Disciplinary process managed by a disciplinary committee that was constituted by NEC with effect from 31st August 2016.
3. Mr. Lyton Dzombe, MS Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma, Mr. Dennis Nanthumba, Mr. Gwazantini, Mr. Isaac Jere.
As per the confession of the suspects that were apprehended in the botched plot, the above people were connected to the plot. As said, the matter is still in the hands of the Police. NEC, however, resolved that the above members be expelled from the Party with immediate effect (31st August 2016).
4. Mr. Hazam Mwale
Owing to the same indiscipline, Mr. Hazam Mwale is also hereby expelled from the Party with immediate effect.
5. Hon. Chatonda Kaunda
Hon. Chatonda Kaunda has been mentioned in other disciplinary matters. As such he has been subjected to the same disciplinary process while serving suspension. We, as a Party subscribe to rules of natural justice and the tenets of democracy. But we also at the same time observe discipline at all levels at all times. Those going through a disciplinary process are, therefore, assured of a fair and just process.
With faith in God as our vessel, with hope in the future as our anchor, with love for this country as our compass and the collective efforts we shall take this Party and country to greater heights. God bless you all and God bless Mother Malawi.
His detractors still see him as a man hungry for power and will go to any length to keep that power.