Assani challenges Chilumpha in Nkhotakota: Road to Malawi 2014 polls

Malawi’s newly appointed Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Fahad Assani, has said he would challenge ruling People’s Party (PP) Vice President, Dr Cassim Chilumpha, during next year’s parliamentary elections in Nkhotakota South Constituency.

The minister, who until his appointment a few weeks ago had no party, said would stand on the ruling party ticket , saying he has been requested to do so by the constituents.

Chilumpha, Malawi’s former Vice President and incumbent Member of Parliament for the area, is PP Vice President responsible for the Central Region.

However, the two-year-old party established by President Joyce Banda in 2011 after her firing from the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is yet to conduct its primary elections to come up with its representative during the May 2014 polls.

Assani challenges Chilumpha
Assani challenges Chilumpha
Chilumpha:  Faces Assani again
Chilumpha: Faces Assani again

It is also not known yet whether the PP Vice President would stand as an independent candidate if he loses in the party’s primaries slated for early next year.

Chilumpha, who served as cabinet minister in President Banda’s administration before being dropped, won the Nkhotakota South seat in 2009 as an independent parliamentarian before joining PP.

During the polls, the former vice president beat Assani who then contested on UDF ticket.

But Assani hitherto considered Chilumpha’s closest friend since their college days where they both took law, expressed optimism to come out victorious during the party’s primaries slated for early next year.

“I am quite humbled by the fact that the people of my area have asked me to serve them as their Member of Parliament come next year.

“I have, thus, accepted with dedication, humility as well as love so that this constituency can see better life of development than it has done up to this point,” said Assani, who once represented Chilumpha in his treason case but later withdrew to concentrate on his political life.

In 2004, Chilumpha was elected MP for the area on UDF ticket but resigned by virtue of being sworn in as Malawi’s Vice President.

The former Vice President was arrested for treason in April 2006 allegedly for plotting to kill late President Bingu wa Mutharika in an act that would have allegedly been committed in Mzimba.

It was alleged that Chilumpha hired expert assassins from South Africa to do the job and the said assassins eventually became state witnesses in the case.

The case  – which he was answering with his close confidant Yusuf Matumula -has since stalled.

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