MCP insists it will shortlist candidates, plays down K3m fees

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has insisted that it will shortlist the candidates eligible to run for the party’s presidency and other executive posts at the party’s convention which was postponed last week in Lilongwe but has been postponed to an indefinite date.

But the party’s national convention chair Joseph Njobvuyalema has dismissed reports doing rounds in social media that aspirants for the party presidency have been asked to contribute K3 million each to qualify as a candidate.

The convention which will among others, elect the party’s presidential candidate for next year’s elections, is facing a shortfall of K15 million, according to Njobvuyalema.

There have been fevered speculation that at  a day-long national executive committee (NEC) meeting at MCP president John Tembo’s Area 10 residence in Lilongwe,  members resolved   to introduce the fees as one way of  screening the aspirants.

Njobvuyalema: Check-mate!
Njobvuyalema: Check-mate!

Njobvuyalema confirmed that the party was facing logistical challenges to hold the convention.

He said out of the K35 million (about $84 000) budgeted for the convention, they have only managed to raise K20 million (about $48 000), saying they need the other K15 million (about $36 000) to hold the convention.

Njobvuyalema nonetheless dismissed K3 million fees for presidential aspirants, saying “there is no such a thing.”

Speaking to Joy Radio and Capital Radio on Thursday, Njobvuyalema maintained that MCP has developed an eight-point checklist to scrutinise aspirants for the party’s presidency and executive positions.

Njobvuyalema said “All names of aspirants will be scrutinized before a final list is taken before the convention.  Any company sets some qualifications for people seeking employment.”

But the check-list has been challenged by Nkhotakota Central Member of Parliament Edwin Banda, a lawyer by profession, as illegal.

MCP administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya confirmed that the party’s members from several regions have rejected the nomination papers.

The checklist, among others, says aspirants should be persons with “good and sound” education background who have not served any other political party in Malawi and have no criminal record for the past seven years.

Apart from incumbent John Tembo, other people who have submitted nomination papers for MCP presidency are newly retired chief justice Lovemore Munlo, Malawi Assemblies of God president the Reverend Dr Lazarus Chakwera, former Cabinet minister Jodder Kanjere, former Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) president Felix Jumbe, former secretary general Betson Majoni, the party’s former director of political affairs Eston Kakhome and secretary general Chris Daza.

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