Chihana wants Loveness not to contest Aford presidency

Alliance for Democracy (Aford) national chairman Enock Chihana has challenged former deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lovenes Gondwe against her decision to contest as president of Aford at the national convention unless she tenders evidence that she de-registered her New Rain-ball Coalition (NRC) party.

Chihana made the challenge on Friday at Mary Mount Secondary in Mzuzu where it’s planned convention to elect the party’s new leaders ahead of the May 20 2014Malawi tripartite elections was aborted due to party ownership wrangle.

Gondwe once acted as Aford’s president when the party was selling through turbulence times –splitting into two camps after the demise of its founding leader.

She then resigned from the party to form her own NRC in 2007 after disagreements over positions in Aford.

Chihana in party uniform speaks to delegates at Marymount Secondary School in Mzuzu Friday
Chihana in party uniform speaks to delegates at Marymount Secondary School in Mzuzu Friday

Gondwe became the first woman in Malawi to run for presidency when she  contested and lost in the 2009 presidential elections which was won by  Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)  leader late Bingu wa Mutharika.

She hatched plans to return to Aford last year but it is yet to be known whether it has been officially announced.

Convention was put on hold thrice to pave way for Loveness Gondwe to contest.

But Chihana, son to Thom Chakufwa Chihana founder of the party,  said Aford is not in alliance with any of the country’s political parties hence was surprised to see NRC president expressing wish to contest as president as the dissolution of her party has not been made.

Said Chihana: “The spirit of my father buried at Kawiruwiru Madzi house would be sad if today we allow Loveness contest in these elections.”

He challenged Gondwe to bring lawyers to give their legal opinion on the matter saying as far as he knows she was not an eligible candidate.

Chihana then left the conference room saying they will go ahead with the convention any day should Loveness fail to bring evidence.

But Gondwe in an interview said she could not speak because things were in a mess.

“How can I speak with things in a mess like this” Gondwe said as Chihana supporters chanted anti Loveness songs singing achoke achoke (get-out, get out.)”

However, in an interview Aford’s spokesperson Dani Msowoya who was to contest as General Secretary accused Chihana of trying to confuse things, saying everything was agreed to bring on board Gondwe after she dissolved her party some two weeks ago.

Said Msowoya: “Aford is a democratic party which accepts freedoms of association, expression, and assembly as enshrined in our constitution so am sad at Chihana’s conduct.”

But Chihana said he and other delegates were not party to their agreements as the meeting involved only three people — Msowoya, Loveness and the party’s interim president Godfrey Shaba.

Meanwhile, Aford’s convention organizing committee chairperson Christopher Litche said all will be rosy as they cannot allow K11 million wasted in preparations to go into the drain.

Chihana- who is also Minister of Sports in the ruling People’s Party government- has clearly stated that if he wins the Aford top seat he will not rally the party to back President Joyce Banda in the presidential race.–MEC Stringer

Loveness Gondwe arriving at Aford convention, aspiring to lead the party
Loveness Gondwe arriving at Aford convention, aspiring to lead the party

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