Malawi Congress Party (MCP) incumbent president John Tembo has said he refused a cash “donation” of K600 000 from presidential hopeful Rev Lazarus Chakwera because he feared it would influence the party politburo which was discussing among other issues the eligibility of the candidates interested in the MCP presidency.
MCP is in the process of trimming the number of presidential candidates for the forthcoming convention and according to Daily Times newspaper report, Chakwera through an aide handed the money to Tembo to support two-day National Executive Committee(Nec) meeting held in Lilongwe last week.
“He sent Chatinkha [Chidzanja Nkhoma] with the cash. I told her I cannot accept the money because I do not accept money before Nec meetings,” Tembo is quoted by the paper saying.
“Nec that day was discussing candidates because there is a concern there are just too much of us. I even offered to step down during the meeting but people rejected my proposal,” said Tembo who hosted the meeting at his Area 10 Residence.
Chakwera explained that the money was aimed at bankrolling the convention not the Nec meeting.
“I am a man of procedure; I will do the right thing by asking the party how best the money can be handed over. I was told the party was raising funds through well-wishers for the convention. I did not personally hand over the money but through people who are fundraising on behalf of the party. I had no ill-motive” said Chakwera.
But Chidzanja Nkhoma said several MCP candidates have contributed money for the convention using the same channel. But Tembo told her point blank that the money was a bribe.
“I personally took the money to Hon Tembo but he later said I am bringing dirty money to him but it was him who told us that we should be sending all the money to him so that there should be order. Other candidates whom I also approached on the party’s behalf have done the same and Tembo told me of the other candidates whom I had also approached on behalf of the party who donated the money to him,” said Nkhoma as quoted by the paper.
Tembo said the party’s NEC agreed that there are too many presidential candidates and some need to be chopped from the list.
Currently, there are 12 candidates vying for the position of president.
The party’s scrutiny committee recently said aspirants should have served as MCP members for not less than five years to be presidential candidates
But this development has attracted criticism.
An editorial of the country’s flagship daily, The Nation said: “The window for MCP to do well in politics is to open up to all who are interested to join, contribute to its development and search for an opportunity to make democracy vibrant from that level if they are to win the elections and form the government.
“There could be a gross misunderstanding as well in the party where the selection of the wanted leader in democracy is based on the facts that each would compete having his/her own campaign tactics and ways of winning elections which are very vital to the electorate to decide by themselves which leader seems the best and suitable to them and for our country among the presidential candidate competitors. Whatever the wishes may be, Malawi as a country does not want to see any political party with ‘forever’ leader.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :