AFORD candidates may ‘miss’ 2014 polls: Chihana faces contempt of court charges

Opposition Alliance for Democracy AFORD candidates in both the parliamentary and local government levels might miss the May 20 tripartite polls if the High Court in Mzuzu fails to deliver its verdict on time in a judicial review bordering on the party’s leadership wrangles.

Aford’s apprehension is contained in a petition to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) by Friends of AFORD arguing that the delay by the Court to adjudicate on the leadership row has negatively impacted on the party’s state of preparedness for the elections.

In the January 14, 2014 petition, a copy Nyasa Times has seen, and copied to Mzuzu High Court and lawyer Christone Ghambi, Friends of AFORD want MEC to assess and consider the merit of its pursuit of justice as requested.

Chihana: More of PP that Aford

Chihana: More of PP that Aford

“AFORD was born free from politics of fear and coercion, has had an embattled existence, unaided and sometimes criticized for its struggle against vices like corruption; it has also has its achievements to the present and still holds out to the citizens in the future,” they said.

A Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.

Currently the party legally has no leadership because a three man caretaker committee which led the party from September to October 2013 had its mandate expired.

 

MEC has opened the nomination process by inviting Secretary Generals of various duly registered political parties to collect nomination papers from the Centre for Multiparty Democracy in Lilongwe for their candidates.

Collection is scheduled from January 16 to February 14, 2014. While submission will be from February 10 to 14, 2014.

“The aspirants are eager and keen to contest the elections on AFORD’s ticket. But they are anxious about their legitimacy in the absence of legitimate authority to endorse them,” Friends of AFORD said.

In September 2013, the High Court in Mzuzu stopped the newly elected Alliance for Democracy (Aford) National Executive headed by President Enoch Chakufwa Chihana from assuming office until the determination of the matter or until a further order of the court.

The order follows the successful application for an interlocutory injunction by former Aford Publicity Secretary Dan Msowoya who said that the elections that took place at the party’s National Convention held at Marymount Secondary School in Mzuzu from 6-7th September were unprocedural, unfair devoid of tenets of democracy and the basic principles of the party.

Meanwhile, Godfrey Shawa camp of Aford  has accused Enoch Katola Chihana of being in contempt of court by declaring that the party is in alliance with the People’s Party (PP) of President Joyce Banda.

“This is preposterous and a blatant lie. Chihana’s conduct is defiant and contemptuous not befitting his status in Malawi.

“AFORD is a political party in its own right and determines its own positions on various issues and such decisions are communicated through its designated channels,” reads part of the letter signed by Dokowe Ngwira, Nkharamuyimo Gondwe, Walter Amon Mkandawire and Chiwoza Gondwe.

Chihana told MBC television on Tuesday that Aford is in alliance with PP and as leader of the party, he thought that was the right decision for the party where it has been in a number of alliances.

He told MBC TV that the fact that he is a Cabinet minister is the true manifestation that the party is in alliance with the PP.

But  spokesperson of another Aford camp, Dan Msowoya, denied that the party is in alliance with PP  and accused Chihana of disregarding the court order that restrained him from transacting business as president of the party.

Msowoya said Aford in not in alliance with PP, saying Chihana “might be doing that because he is more of PP than Aford.”

According to Msowoya  their camp have started preparing contempt charges against Chihana.

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