AFORD convention now early 2012 -Chihana

Malawi’s opposition Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) says it will finally hold its national convention early 2012 to elect new office leaders.

AFORD National Chairman Enock Chihana said this exactly two months after the party failed to hold the long awaited national convention in November 2011, as he had earlier announced.

Chihana, who is also Member of Parliament for Rumphi Central, could however not give the exact dates for the big gathering saying they were still discussing about it.

Chihana: Time to seek fresh mandate

The national chairman observed that just like in other parties, the squabbles that have been emerging in the party at some point were as a result of failure to hold the convention after the mandate of the current National Executive Council expired on October 21, 2011.

Fresh mandate

“We are supposed to be conducting the convention after every five years to legitimize the decisions of the party,” said Chihana, the son of the party’s founder Chakufwa Thom Chihana.

He added: “It is time we sought fresh mandate from the people who are the owners of the party.”

Chihana said he hoped the convention would bring unity and reinforce the rebuilding process of the once mighty party.

A few months ago a task force calling itself Friends of AFORD which was led by Patrick Kondowe, was born within the party to force NEC members call for a convention.

However, NEC members pleaded with the task force members to shelve their calls for a convention “as soon as possible” because the party had insufficient funds to hold such a huge function.

The party leaders said a credible convention would cost them about K6 million which they did not have.

Chihana said the convention will put in place people who have the vision and capacity to lead the party into 2014 presidential and parliamentary victory.

The AFORD chair also said he would compete for the position but it will be seen at the convention whether or not people will entrust him to lead the party during the 2014 polls.

“People should not think of voting for me because am the son of the party’s founder but because of my ability to lead it,” he advised.

The national chairman also claimed that his victory in the Rumphi Central Constituency was a sign of the party’s come back on the political scene to reclaim its share.

During the polls, Chihana’s AFORD beat the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to the constituency which was under its member Professor Moses Chirambo before his death in South Africa.

AFORD now has two parliamentarians the other being Kwauli Msiska of Karonga Nyungwe who is also the party’s secretary general.

Currently, AFORD President is former Rumphi Parliamentarian Dindi Gowa Nyasulu who is deputized by Tennyson Banda.

AFORD has its base in Northern Malawi and during the first multiparty polls (1994-1999) it scooped all the parliamentary seats when it was ruled by its founder Chakufwa.

Recently, after noting that the party has started regaining its ground, two briefcase political parties Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) led by Kamlepo Kalua and the National Unity Party (NUP) of Harry Chiume decided to join it and work together in what the three parties are now calling it AFORD Grand Alliance.

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