‘DePeCo is dead,’ says ex-GS Nyirenda as he joins AFORD

Secretary General for the little-known Democratic People’s Congress (DePeCo), Nelson Nyirenda, has dumped the party and joined an equally minority party the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), saying the former is not far from becoming extinct.

DePeCo is one of the over 40 registered political parties in Malawi founded by Chris Daza, who also served as special advisor to President Peter Mutharika on governance matters.

Prior to the May 21 tripartite elections, which later had the presidential results getting nullified, DePeCo went into an alliance with the former governing Democratic Progress Party (DPP) to propel Mutharika to a second term.

Aford welcomes Nyirenda

In his remarks, when AFORD president Enock Chihana and other senior officials welcomed him at the party headquarters in the capital Lilongwe, Nyirenda said his decision to leave DePeCo was because the party had lost direction and vision.

He said his choice for AFORD was that apart from championing democracy for the country in the 90s by its founder Chakufwa Thom Chihana, the party had the best political ideologies.

“DePeCo is almost dead. The party is failing to breathe. Why should someone stick to it? That’s why I decided to dump it and join AFORD which has the best ideologies,” said Nyirenda in an interview with Nyasa Times but could not say what these ideologies were.

AFORD president Enock Chihana, son to the party’s founder, hailed Nyirenda for his “right decision” saying it will improve his political career.

He also said that Nyirenda’s move to join the party was evidence enough that AFORD was “gaining momentum on the ground.”

In an earlier interview with Nyasa Times, Chihana said AFORD was putting its house in order and had rebutted allegations that the party was being financed by the governing Malawi Congress Party (MCP), following its inexplicable financial strength noticed through both mainstream and social media.

AFORD had shown its financial stability with the purchase of tens of vehicles, funding its candidates and profound availability of party regalia.

But Chihana had said they had not received any penny from MCP and wondered why the media was inquisitive about AFORD now.

“Why now? AFORD has survived all these years and no one cared where we were getting our resources. The thing is we are rebranding, and when you are rebranding you need to make it look like it. And we are doing it.

“It is funny for one to think MCP would give money to us. Does MCP have money? Where will MCP get money that it would give to AFORD? Where has it gotten it? No, we run AFORD on our own just like MCP does with their own,” said Chihana.

He confessed that the resources are contributions from various party members with him as the chief financier.

“I am a businessman, and time and again when I make some profits, I put some of it into the party coffers. But as it were there are also members and well-wishers who come in and help,” he said.

The Alliance for Democracy is a political party in Malawi that marked its history as laying the foundation for multi-party rule in Malawi.

It began as an underground political movement during the Kamuzu Banda era and later evolved to a political party during the multi-party era under the leadership of trade union activist, Chakufwa Chihana.

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