JZU pushes for new MCP leader to come from central region

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President John Zenus Ungapake  Tembo is said to be campaigning to have his successor and the party’s torch bearer in next year’s elections to come from the central region, where the veteran politician also comes from.

This has been revealed following a meeting which Tembo, fondly known as JZU, had with aspiring party leaders from the central region on Tuesday when he pleaded with some of them to pull out from the race to ensure that the central region retain the leadership.

Currently the central region has ten aspirants including Tembo himself while the southern region has only two candidates a situation that has raised fears that if the race goes ahead the central region will likely lose the seat through a split vote.

Apart from Tembo, other contestants from the region secretary general Chris Daza, former Malawi Assemblies of God president Lazarus Chakwera, former Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) president Felix Jumbe, former Cabinet Minister Jodder Kanjere, former secretary general Betson Majoni, the party’s MPs for Nkhotakota central Edwin Banda, Lilongwe Mapuyu south’s Joseph Njobvuyalema and  Lilongwe Mpenu’s Watson Makala Ngozo.

Rev Chakwela:  MCP presidential hopeful
Rev Chakwela: MCP presidential hopeful

While the south only has retired  Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and the party’s former director of political affairs Eston Kakhome.

One of the aspirants who attended the Tuesday meeting held at Tembo’s Area 10 residence in the Capital City, Lilongwe, disclosed that during the meeting the MCP leader expressed concerns that with the current
situation the party will be “sold to the southern region.”

“In essence we can say it was a meeting aimed at bringing unity in the party amongst the aspirants. The President dwelled much on the need not to castigating and insulting each other during the campaign but at the end he asked us to consider giving one candidate from the central region a chance to compete against the two from the south,” said the aspirant.

He, however, said Tembo did not specifically say who that candidate should be.

Tembo, who most observers think that he would pull from the race after being satisfied with a candidate he would want to leave the party to, has been playing hide and seek on whether he would still throw his hat in the race.

The source revealed that even during the meeting he did not mention anything about his candidature apart from telling the aspirants that he had called for the meeting as the incumbent president of the party and not as a fellow candidate during the convention whose date is yet to be announced.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Tembo declined to comment on what the meeting discussed.

“I just wanted to confirm that these are the people who have registered to contest. I will only come up with a statement after I have met all the aspirants from all the regions,” said Tembo.

He said as President of the MCP he has a programme to meet all the aspirants for the party’s top position.

He said on Tuesday he only met those from the central region, while Wednesday he was also meeting those from the south before meeting those from the north Thursday.

Tembo also said that the meeting has nothing to do with him as a candidate for the party’s presidency.

“People have to understand that to begin with I am president of the party and I have the task to ensure that everything is done in a proper manner. My position as candidate is not a serious one,” he said.

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