Deputy publicity secretary for the former governing United Democratic Front (UDF), Ken Msonda, has reacted with anger to assertions that some of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) members are convicts and as such they cannot hold any executive office.
One of the UDF NEC members, Gerald Mponda, is quoted in the Thursday’s edition of The Nation that Article 33 (b) of the UDF constitution does not allow members who have been convicted to hold positions in the party.
“No person shall be eligible to hold any office in the party if he/she has been convicted in the last preceding seven years by a court of competent jurisdiction on an offence involving dishonesty or moral turpitude,” reads the clause in the UDF constitution.
But speaking to Nyasa Times in Blantyre on Thursday, Msonda said “in the first place” it is an insult to call “bona fide UDF NEC members” as convicts.
He questioned the timing of such allegations when all along the party has had other “members” as leaders but with the ‘convict’ status.
“Where was he (Mponda) all this time? It’s all funny politics at play here,” Msonda said.
UDF second vice-national chairperson, Sam Mpasu, Ziliro Chibambo and deputy secretary general Hophmally Makande are the NEC members who were convicted within the past seven years and served their sentences, except for Chibambo who was saved from a jail term due to poor health, according to the magistrate.
Mpasu was convicted after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) took him to court over a 1994 exercise book procurement scam.
Chibambo was also convicted after he was found guilty of inflating salaries while serving as Malawi’s High Commissioner in Mozambique and Makande was convicted for allegedly insulting President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The newspaper quoted Mponda as arguing that some of the members qualify for exclusion and is wondering why they were given NEC positions.
According to the report, Mpasu said he is not the first convicted person to hold a position in UDF and wondered why he is being targeted, arguing that the former UDF national chairman Dr. Bakili Muluzi was convicted in a court of law –over theft of six Pounds – but he held a position in the party, including ruling the country
Makande said he does not believe his conviction bordered on dishonesty and moral turpitude as the article says.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :