Alliance for Democracy (Aford) national chairperson Enoch Chihana attacked his party’s spokesman Dan Msowoya at a public rally for and says he wants to contest for the party’s presidency during a convention in April, claiming he is the only one left with the vision to resuscitate it.
Chihana, who is Minister of Sports and Youth in the Joyce Banda administration, said during a rally he addressed at Masasa in Mzuzu on Wednesday that he was geared to be Aford’s president..
“As Aford president I will bring in more MPs and clearly spell out the party’s vision in order to attract more members and supporters. Whoever thinks can compete with me, I say let’s meet at the convention,” he told the gathering.
He said building a party needs collective responsibility and resources saying many of the people in the party had no money.
“You do not even know how much a party t-shirt or piece of cloth costs and yet you want to head the party. That’s ridiculous,” he said amid ululation from the audience.
He then accused some Aford leaders of letting the party die because they were obsessed with his father, founding president the later Chakufwa Chihana, who he claimed might not be relevant now.
“As Aford we have a big problem. The fact that Chakufwa Chihana might have played part in bringing democracy to this country will not help the party grow because it was his time and it’s gone. It was 20 years ago and some of the people we are dealing with now may not have seen him or heard him speak.
“We cannot move forward on the basis of sympathy or empathy,” Chihana said, to the surprise of many.
He then warned other leaders in the party against publicly contradicting him , saying as the party’s chairperson he solely has the authority to speak on policy, programmes and ideology.
“Nobody else speaks after me and whoever does that will be guilty of insubordination and liable for disciplinary action,” Chihana said.
Chihana’s rebuke was directed at publicity secretary Dan Msowoya who has openly challenged him for making party pronouncements without consulting the politburo.
But Msowoya said his job is to defend the party’s image against political predators, unscrupulous agents or even party members.
“The majority of Aford members within and beyond borders found the recent statements by Enoch Chihana preposterous and constitutive of a sad recurrence of what the party had been put through in the years past.
“Therefore, I cannot be liable for chastisement for having allayed the people’s fears by dismissing the assertions by Chihana as false, baseless and unfounded,” Msowoya said.
Speaking earlier Aford National Campaign director Boyeke Munthali openly endorsed Chihana as next Aford president.
“Can Msowoya lead Aford? I don’t think so. We need Enoch to work hard in restoring the party’s dignity so that it regains its positions as a force to reckon with in the Northern Region,” Munthali said.
Aford was founded by fire-brand pro-democracy campaigner Chakufwa Chihana in 1992 after the Catholic Church made the first direct challenge to the then one-party dictatorship under Hastings Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The party has two members in the 194-seat national assembly – Khwauli Msiska and party chairman Enoch Chihana, the founder’s son. Both Msiska and Chihana are ministers in President Banda’s Peoples Party-led government.
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