Presidential candidate for the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said the party rushed to hold its convention after the Supreme Court vacated an injunction restraining it from conducting the indaba, to avoid further injunctions from the embattled former Secretary General Gustav Kaliwo.
The MCP leader said the court battles were derailing the new agenda for the party .
“I would like to appreciate the organising committee for their preparations of the convention. Though they did it in a hurry, but here we are by the grace of God we have done it.
“We had to do it as soon as possible after the vacation of the courtborder to avoid the running battles on an injunction that was there,” said Chakwera as he closed the convention on Sunday.
At the convention, Chakwera was maintained as president, Sidik Mia was named first vice-president while Harry Mkandawire assumed the second-vice presidency.
Kaliwo has said he will still pursue the matter in court, saying he did not attend the convention because doing so would have been “dignifying an illegal convention”.
He said party president Lazarus Chakwera did not follow protocol and to be re-elected on a position without following the constitution is something uncalled for as he was supposed to relinquish his position as president first and let people vote under article 37 (7)(5) of the party’s constitution.
Said Kaliwo: “Chakwera should have first relinquished his power and if convention has been called it means the [former] first vice-president of the party acts as a president. In this case, Richard Msowoya is, therefore, an acting president. Going forward, we will wait for a legitimate convention which will be called by Msowoya .”
But Kaliwo’s replacement, Eisenhower Mkaka, has described his position as kicks of a dying horse.
Said Mkaka: “He [Kaliwo] indeed has nothing to say because his position no longer exists. The NEC he belonged to was dissolved according to our constitution. Contrary to what he is saying, NEC is the one which is supposed to call for a convention, so that happened.”
Governance expert Mankhumbo Munthali has told Nyasa Times that issue of MCP wrangles is a complex issue that can be best understood by applying a holistic approach to the matter.
“There has been a tendency by those who have publicly commented on the matter to solely heap the blame on the failure of leadership (Dr. Lazarus Chakwera) in the party to address these squables. However, while it is true that Chakwera’s leadership has not helped matters by showing some vestiges of dictatorship by amongst other issues flouting the party’s constitution when dealing with Kaliwo-Msowoya camp, it is important that we do not pay a blind eye to the political dynamics that may characterise the issue in the process making the wrangle seem unresolvable.
”It would be naive and gullible enough to solely conclude that Msowoya and Kaliwo are victims of defending party’s constitutionalism. Evidence suggests that prior to Sidick Mia’s declaration to vie for the Vice Presidency following his joining of MCP, Msowoya remained mum in the face of MCP’s ‘unfair’ treatment of Jessie Kabwila,Kaliwo, Felix Jumbe and others. Certainly, Msowoya was so comfortable to smile at the party’s treatment of these as long as he was assured of the runningmate in the next 2019 elections. It was therefore interesting to hear Msowoya joining forces with Kabwira and Kaliwo under the guise of defending party constitutionalism. Now that is apparent-just looking at recent events- that Chakwera has decided to pair with Mia in the next election, Msowoya may be determined to do whatever he can-even if it means using legal processes- to frustrate Chakwera’s presidential bid. In this regard, the issue may be beyond defending the party’s constitution,” observed Munthali.