Court gives Chihana 7 days to defend convention election

The High Court in Mzuzu has given the embattled Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) faction led by Enoch Chihana seven days to defend its election victory at the controversial convention.

Judge Dingiswayo Madise gave the order on Thursday during the commencement of an interparties hearing, which has since been discontinued.

The hearing follows an ex-parte injunction former Aford Publicity Secretary Dan Msowoya obtained on behalf of eight others stopping the newly elected president Chihana from assuming office citing irregularities in the electoral process.

Lawyer for the Chihana faction Victor Gondwe asked the Court to be allowed to file submissions on the substantive matter which borders on the validity of the elections other than wasting time on the nitty-gritty of the convention day.

Chihana: Given 7days

Aford held its national convention from 6-7th September, 2013 at Mary Mount Secondary School in Mzuzu but due to various disagreements and violence other stakeholders boycotted the event.

Some of the prominent officials who boycotted the convention are: are former acting president, Godfrey Shawa, former secretary general, Khwauli Msiska, former and a newcomer and Presidential candidate, UK based Sad Kaseka Munthali.

But the convention went ahead and elected Chihana as Party President with 515 against Msiska’s 45, who was voted in absentia, Gladson Kaseka Munthali collected 15 votes while Shaba withdrew from the race.

Msowoya argued that that the elections were unprocedural, unfair, devoid of tenets of democracy and the basic principles of the party.

However, in granting the order for an injunction the Court ordered Aford factions to mutually elect an interim President and Secretary General to run party affairs while the factions run court battles as they try to bring sanity among themselves.

And speaking outside the Court Gondwe said among other things their skeletal arguments and affidavits will show that the Mary Mount Convention had fulfilled Article 8 of the Party’s Constitution which seeks for a more 50 percent presence of delegates to form a quorum.

“That quorum was duly constituted. It’s immaterial that some delegates decided to boycott because of political reasons,” Gondwe said.

He also said the Convention proceeded based on Article 7 which specifies term limits for Office holders.

“The old committee had exceeded their mandate by three years and it would be illegal and unconstitutional to let them run the affairs of the party,” Gondwe said.

Aford was founded by trade unionist Chakufwa Chihana (father to Enock  Katola Chihana) in 1992. In the 1994 general elections, the party swept all the 33 seats in northern region and three others in central region.

By the time Chakufwa Chihana died in 2006, the party had only six parliamentary seats. Currently, it has two members of parliament, Khwauli Msiska and Enock Chihana.

Chihana is a minister in the PP led government.

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