MCP old guard frustrating new blood on presidential contest: Malawi on road to 2014

Three old timers in the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vitus Dzoole Mwale,  Joseph Njobvuyalema and Portipher Chidaya have been accused of trying to frustrate new blood to contest for the presidency of the party with their insistence that aspirants should have at least five years working in the party.

Some national executive committee (Nec) have revealed to Nyasa Times that the five year experience requirement is the one delaying the party to come with new dates for their postponed convention following differences within Nec on whether to maintain the provision or take it off to give a chance to all the ten presidential hopefuls.

The members disclosed that it is Dzoole Mwale, Njobvuyalema and Chidaya, who in their bid to protect the interest of incumbent President John Tembo, are insisting that the provision should remain despite a feeling from the majority of the Nec members that it was not necessary.

Tembo ,who earlier on potrayed all the indications that he will not contest, made a last minute u-turn apparently after being persuaded by these three according to sources.

Chidaya: We will stick on the check-list

Chidaya: We will stick on the check-list

Apart from Tembo, the MCP has nine other aspirants for the presidency in the name of retired Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, party Secretary General Chris Daza, Nkhotakota Central MP Edwin Banda, former Malawi Assemblies of God President Lazarus Chakwera, former MCP officials Jodder Kanjere and Eston Kankhome, Betson Majoni, farmer Felix Jumbe, and businessman Lyton Dzombe.

Among these Munlo, who has served in the MCP government for a long time as a civil servant, deputy minister and acted as secretary general, Chakwera, Jumbe and Dzombe are regarded as rank outsiders although Munlo, Chakwera and Jumbe are regarded as the top favourites to win the race.

While Dzoole Mwale and Njobvuyalema could not be drawn to comment on the development, Chidaya on the other hand admitted that he was in support of maintaining the five year experience requirement.

Chidaya regarded as Tembo’s right hand man and king maker in the race, who ironically is also leading the scrutiny of candidates, said the MCP would not forego the requirement as doing so will be just like  inviting people from the streets to grab executive positions in the party.

“Nec positions are like a promotion and that requirement is necessary as it would ensure that the party only has experienced people and those who know how it operates within its ranks,” he said.

The MCP planned to have the convention during the weekend of April 28 and 29 but the meeting had to be postponed because the party could not secure suitable accommodation to have all the delegates lodge at one place and also after it failed to raise the required K35 million for the indaba.

By the scheduled date the party is said to have only raised K20 million forcing it later to advertise in the newspapers appealing to well-wishers to come forward and assist financially.

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