In a bid to consolidate its northern region stronghold, the People’s Party (PP) of former president Joyce Banda has roped in youthful politician, Maquenda Chunga as its new provincial chairman (PC).
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Chunga has promised to embark on and implement an aggressive party rebuilding exercise to reposition PP for 2019 when the next general elections are due in Malawi.
Chunga thanked PP president and founder Joyce Banda and PP for entrusting him “with such a huge responsibility”.
He has pledged to grow the party in the north through the recruitment of more grassroots organizers at branch and area level.
“There are many able people in the party who could equally and efficiently serve in this position but it pleased the party to offer me the opportunity to serve the party and its leadership. I don’t take this trust for granted,” he said.
The PC has vowed to encourage discipline and orderliness among the rank and file members of the party in the province.
“My personal vision is to unite members of the party and strengthen party structures right from the grassroots and non members in the region to join PP.
“This will be achieved through an open-door policy and a bottom up approach to ensure an all inclusive kind of regional leadership. It will also entail contributing to the party’s growth at national level by maintaining good working relationship with chairpersons and leaders from other regions. I will ensure that PP’s glory days return and that the party goes back into government in 2019,” he pledged.
In a separate interview, Joyce Banda, who is also founder of the PP, said she appointed Chunga after thorough consultation and expressed trust that the new chair “will rise to the occasion and be steadfast fast in his new job”.
“The decision to give this position to Honourable Chunga came from the people of the north. They asked me to appeal to him to approach this responsibility with the seriousness, commitment and maturity that it deserves. I trust that God will guide him to succeed,” she said.
“It is my sincere hope he shall take the party in the north to the highest level. I know the sacrifices he has made on behalf of our country,” added Banda.
Chunga comes from Zakeyo Chunga village, TA Mzikubola in Mzimba district. He joined politics in 2006 whilst in the Diaspora as a member of the DPP wing in USA, and worked with President Bingu wa Mutharika that time. Bingu called him back to Malawi and requested him to contest in Mzimba South as an MP during the 2009 general elections.
He won the primaries under the DPP in 2008 but he was inexplicably barred from representing the party.
“I went on to contest as an independent candidate and did not manage to win because the votes were split giving a chance to a shadow MP for another political party,” he said.
Chunga’s appointment comes after the PP expelled its former PC Mzomera Ngwira who had declared former state Vice president Khumbo Kachali as the party’s leader in the absence of Banda, who has been abroad for several months now.
In the run up to the 2014 tripartite elections, Kachali had dished the PP and openly declared his support for Peter Mutharika during the last tripartite lection in 2014.
According to the party, Mzomera acted in contravention of the party constitution, especially when it was clear that Kachali never made any open declaration about his apparent return to PP.
The PP also accused Mzomera of orchestrating the violence that erupted when some senior party members travelled to the northern region apparently to resolve wrangles arising from his (Mzomera) indulgence with Kachali.
But the new PC, Chunga, has said he will pursue a policy of contact and dialogue and that he shall not allow any previous misunderstandings to linger on and tear the PP apart.
“I will encourage all members, regardless of previous wrongs, to resolve our differences in an amicable manner. We must all rally behind the current leadership and the party in order to ensure our return into government come 2019,” he said.
Chunga joined People’s Party in 2012, and contested again in the same constituency during the 2014 general elections.
“I managed to win under the PP and I am currently serving the people of Mzimba South constituency as their representative in Parliament,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :