Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president John Tembo says members of the party will decide on the leadership contest during the party national convention this year and that he will not dictate the terms.
“The choice of candidates is the responsibility of the convention. It’s not, therefore, my responsibility to break the rules, regulations and tradition of the MCP and start saying ‘I am the candidate,’ ‘I will stand as a candidate.’” Tembo, 80, is quoted in Nation on Sunday.
Malawi’s oldest political party, MCP plans to hold its long awaited convention in April 2013 to enable people choose new office bearers.
Tembo is barred from seeking a third time lucky on the country’s top job, according to the MCP constitution.
The veteran politician could not clear the mist on whether he will force his way to change the party’s constitution to allow him to stand again.“It’s not for me, it’s the responsibility of the people of MCP,” he is quoted as saying.
Tembo is being challenged by beleaguered Secretary General Dr. Chris Daza who has openly declared that he wants the party’s top seat.
Nkhotakota Central MP Edwin Banda has aso declared his intention to run for MCP presidency at the convention.
Tembo told the paper that he is not stopping anyone from contesting for any position, insisting the party members decide through following its four corner stones; Loyalty, Obedience, Discipline and Unity
“If you find anyone saying ‘I will be,’ he is not a member of the MCP, he is not, he is somebody who is trying to exploit members of the MCP,” said Tembo.
Tembo also kept a tight lid on whether he will be standing as MP for Dedza South Constituency for the umpteenth time in 2014, insisting that the people of Dedza will decide if they still want him.
The veteran politician told the paper he remains fit as a fiddle though he is an octogenarian because: “I live well, I eat well and I look after myself. I am active in life.”
He added: “Old age is what a person thinks about himself: Some people are old so early and some are young so late in life; it depends on the mental interest of the person.”
The paper also reported that Tembo, who branded ‘strongman’ during the one party dictatorship under Kamuzu Banda, said he became “a loyal servant of Kamuzu” and that still he is posthumously.
Tembo however said it is incorrect to brand Kamuzu a dictator, saying he was actually a nationalist and fighter for freedom and democracy which today’s youths should emulate.
But about the late Bingu wa Mutharika who copied Kamuzu’s Ngwazi title, Tembo echoed the views of many Malawians, saying Mutharika “destroyed the foundation and dignity of this country.”
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