With the much tussled over Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) convention finally due in about a week’s time, some members have questioned the long absence of the party’s President Enoch Chihana, wondering where he is conducting his campaign in his bid to be reelected at the indaba slated for 28 and 29 April in Lilongwe.
The members also want to know the exact venue of the convention because they say time has run out.
It is just being rumoured that the venue will likely be Lilongwe Teachers Training College.
“Where is Chihana? We are only seeing Honourable Frank Mwenifumbo selling his agenda for AFORD to the entire membership of the party across the country. Honestly, you cannot have a whole party president conducting himself in such secrecy over an important matter as a convention,” said one senior official who opted to speak on condition of anonymity.
When contacted, AFORD Publicity Secretary Khumbo Mwaungulu was not sure about the exact venue of the party’s convention but he hinted that preparations for the indaba are at an advanced stage.
“The organizing committee is finalizing working out delegates and putting together all the necessary logistics. They will communicate when they are done,” he told nyasatimes.
Efforts to speak to the Chairperson of the organizing committee of the convention Tanilani Chipeta who is also AFORD Deputy President, proved futile.
According to Mwaungulu, Chihana is in the Republic of South Africa since January on what he described as “official duties”.
Apparently, Chihana’s presence at the incoming indaba is relevant because the constitution of AFORD empowers the party’s sitting President to set in motion such gatherings.
“Even if Chihana returns two days before the convention, I know him as a capable politician who will manage in a short time to move around and convince the delegates to vote for him,” Mwaungulu pampered his master.
The publicist added that even if the AFORD President would not show up at the convention, his deputies will execute his required constitutional obligations during the indaba, hence there is nothing to worry at all.
But another anonymous senior member insisted that Chihana’s behavior is very unbecoming.
“This was the time he needed to be around, giving us direction, sharing his vision for the party and accounting to the membership on developments in the party ahead of the convention”.
Chipped in another one, “We do not want someone to resurface abruptly at the convention and forcefully grab the presidency through violence. This behavior must stop because it is what has has brought the party down”.
Several people have shown interest to contest for the presidency of AFORD at the incoming indaba.
However, the competition is clearly between Chihana and Frank Mwenifumbo, a Karonga Central Member of Parliament and former Cabinet Minister in the late Bingu wa Mutharika regime.
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