Court rebuffs Jumbe again on convention

The High Court in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre, on Wednesday dismissed Friday Jumbe’s application for an injunction to stop the UDF national convention scheduled for Tuesday next week (October 30) after an inter-party hearing.

Judge Joseph Mwanyungwa heard from Jumbe (represented by Ralph and Arnolds law firm) and the other UDF camp headed by secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala and Atupele Muluzi (represented by Kalekeni Kaphale law firm).

In his determination, Justice Mwanyungwa dismissed Jumbe’s arguments and could not grant an injunction.

But Jumbe went to address journalists after the court that he will block UDF from holding the indaba “by all means necessary.”

Jumbe: Still fighting

Meanwhile, at a news conference held at the party headquarters in Limbe, senior UDF officials and the organizing committee of the indaba, could not disclose  the donors of the close to K40 million of the elective conference.

UDF deputy publicity secretary Ken Ndanga told Nyasa Times while well wishers came to the rescue of the party by providing money and other materials he is not at liberty to disclose their names.

“There is no legislation on party funding in Malawi so as a party UDF is not obliged to say where it has sourced money for the forth-coming national conference.  Malawian political parties have a culture of secrecy on party funding and most people who fund political parties remain anonymous for fear of witch-hunting,” said Ndanga.

Added he: “Even if there was a law or policy on this, people who fund opposition political parties wouldn’t feel comfortable to be mentioned for fear of losing businesses.”

However speculations have been rife especially from Jumbe that the funding has come from former president Bakili Muluzi who is also patron of the party.

Muluzi is being linked to the campaign of his son Atupele is vying for the party chairman position and has been accused of influencing decisions in the party by the Jumbe led camp.

Atupele who is minister of Economic Planning and Development in President Mrs. Joyce Banda’s inclusive government is being challenged by former treasure general for UDF Dr. George Nga Ntafu and former sports minister Moses Dossi for for the UDF national chairperson position.

On her part, chairperson of the organizing committee for the conference Lilian Patel has confirmed that all is set for the indaba which will take place at Comesa hall in commercial capital Blantyre and over two thousands delegates are expected to elect office bearers for the pary.

“I can confirm that all nomination forms so far have been surrendered to an independent electoral commission whose members are credible members from the academia and NGO’s that have experience in handling elections. Let me emphasize that these are not members of UDF. We have agreed to extend the period of submitting nominations up to Friday October 26 to give people a chance,” said Patel.

She added that all positions are up for grabs and campaign started immediately after the committee had announced the notification of the conference in the media.

Apart from the top position of chairman, who automatically will lead the party to 2014 elections, other positions that are being hotly contested include that of secretary general where incumbent Kennedy Makwangwala is facing challenge from former boss for power utility Electricity Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Kandi Kadambo and trade unionist Austin kalimanjira.

Others who are expected to file in their nomination include former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Vicrtor Mbewe and former Tobacco Control Commission CEO Dr Geodfrey Chapola,

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