Malawi Congress Party: 25 seats up for grabs, may disqualify other presidential aspirants

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) executive positions are not open for everyone and those expressing interest to contest will be scrutinized, director of research Joseph Njobvuyalema who is also national convention chairman has said.

Njobvuyalema’s remarks came at a moment when several people have submitted their nomination papers expressing interest to compete for the party’s presidency including its current leader, John Tembo seeking a third term despite being barred by the party constitution.

Presidential hopefuls who have presented their nominations papers include former cabinet minister Jodder Kanjere, Malawi Assemblies of God president Rev Dr Lazarus Chakwera, current secretary general Chris Daza, former chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, former MCP secretary general Beston Majoni, former Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) President Felix Jumbe and former MCP director of political affairs Eston Kakhome.

Former education minister Richard Msowoya is the only candidate gunning for the position of vice-president.

Njobvuyalema: There is a  checklist

Njobvuyalema: There is a checklist

But in an interview with Nyasa Times, Njobvuyalema said despite many people showing interest to contest for the party’s NGC positions, it is not everyone who is eligible for executive seat.

“Like any other organization, MCP has its criteria of choosing those to run the affairs of the party. Executive positions are not open to everyone. Mandate has been given to a special accreditation committee to scrutinize the names,” Njobvuyalema said.

He said party has an eight point checklist for aspirants to satisfy in order to be eligible to contest for any position in the party.

As per the checklist, aspirants must be Malawian citizens who are bona fide members of MCP with no criminal record for the past seven years and financially sustainable to support the party.

Further, they must have good and sound educational background, five years’ experience in the MCP and must adhere to the four cornerstones upon which the party was found on. Again, all aspirants must not have served any other political party in Malawi.

Njobvuyalema said the accreditation committee will meet before the party’s convention slated for 27-29 April at Bingu International conference centre in Lilongwe where the party is expected to elect its` 2014 torchbearer.

“There are 25 positions to be filled during the convention but it’s not automatic that everyone who has submitted nomination forms will be allowed to contest. There are decisive factors the accreditation committee will take into consideration before approving any aspirant. If they qualify then, that’s ok, but just know positions are not open for everybody,” Njobvuyalema told Nyasa Times.

And on Tuesday Njobvuyalema, in a separate interview with MIJ radio, complained that the party was currently being invaded by rank outsiders, who are creating unnecessary tension.

MCP strongman and current president John Tembo on Wednesday became the eighth contender for the party’s presidency, though he is technically and legally barred from contesting the presidency according to the MCP constitution, which restricts one to two presidential terms.

University of Malawi political analyst Blessings Chinsinga has described Tembo’s interest to seek third term as not health for the party, which is focusing on rebranding itself in readiness for 2014 tripartite elections.

Chinsinga said Tembo has potential to influence MCP’s executive to change the constitution in his favour, thereby denying the party a moment of roping in new blood and have new leadership.

Another political analyst Henry Chingaipe on Wednesday faulted Tembo’s late joining of the presidential race, saying it raises questions whose answers only the MCP leader knows.

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