Court stops Chihana, orders appointment of Aford interim leadership

The High Court in Mzuzu has stopped the newly elected Alliance for Democracy (Aford) National Executive headed by controversially elected president Enoch Chihana from assuming office until the determination of the matter or until a further order of the court.

Under miscellaneous civil cause no. 56 of 2013 between Dan Msowoya and 8 others as plaintiff and Aford and Chihana, the High Court has also ordered that both parties should sit down and appoint the care taker president and Secretary General acceptable to both parties within 7 days.

The order follows the successful application for an interlocutory injunction by former Aford Publicity Secretary Dan Msowoya, who said that the elections that took place at the party’s National Convention held at Marymount Secondary School in Mzuzu from 6-7th September were procedural, unfair devoid of tenets of democracy and the basic principles of the party.

Chihana got 515 against Msiska’s 45, who was voted in absentia, Gladson Kaseka Munthali collected 15 votes while Shaba withdrew from the race.

Chihana: Restrained by court order
Chihana: Restrained by court order

Justice Dingiswayo Madise in his ruling granted an order of injunction restraining the Defendants (Chihana and his executive) “by themselves, their servants, agents or otherwise and Members of National Executive Council elected on the 6th September, 2013 from executing any duties, or any transactions in the name of Aford or on behalf of Aford, or dealing in any manner with the activities of Aford.”

Madise further ordered that inter-parties summons must be filed within 7 days from the date of the order and that it should be heard within 14 days from the date of this Order.

On Wednesday Chihana riding on his controversial electoral victory challenged the rebels to either seek court redress or find resources for the holding of another convention if they were not satisfied.

“They should sue themselves if they decide to go that way otherwise a reasonable lawyer will taint his CV by representing them,” Chihana said.

On the alliance with other parties Chihana said (NARC), People’s Development Movement (PDM) and National Patriotic Front were barred because “it is political, morally and constitutionally wrong for these parties to participate in the Aford convention and contest for positions”

Both Chihana and Ritche described the Alliance as “childish” because it was negotiated without all the parties seeking mandate from their members.

“There was no legal documentation and nothing in writing. It was just word of mouth hence not binding,” Ritche said.

However, in his affidavit filed in support for the application Msowoya said that prior to the Convention there was a meeting where Aford NEC recognized and accepted the other political parties to integrate or join or merge.

“It was further agreed that the Malawi Electoral Commission and other stake holders should be invited to assist in the conducting of election to ensure that there was impartiality, free and fair election.

“Each party was then asked to submit a list of delegates and that demand came from MEC for it to print Ballot papers proportional to the number of voters,” Msowoya said.

He said when the convention was opened Chihana was not supposed to make any remarks because he is not a president of any party.

“He grabbed the micro-phone from the President Godfrey Shawa and started shouting objections to the participation of other parties and stake holders, this started violence as other members tried to grab back the microphone to control the situation.

“There was a heavy commotion, people fighting each other with chairs and Policemen were called in to intervene amid fracas but to no avail and the situation got worse not conducive to run the programme for the convention,” Msowoya said.

He said the ensuing commotion made MEC officials to flee and the organizing committee to postpone the convention.

“There was no report of activities from 2007 to 2013 and an outline of convention events by Secretary General Khwauli Msiska. The Party President did not officially dissolve the National Executive Council. The Organizing chairperson did not introduce the contestants for the position of President,” Msowoya said.

He said afterwards Chihana returned with his supporters and started electing people in the absence of MEC, organizing committee and other contestants.

“They did not use MEC ballot papers as arranged, there was no voters verification and the elections took place in absence of MEC which meant it was not free, fair and credible,” Msowoya said.

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