Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will likely postpone its convention in April this year after High Court in Blantyre reserved its determination to rift an injunction obtained by party’s Vice President Richard Msowoya and four other members.
The April 4-7 2018 gathering at Mary Mount Secondary School in Mzuzu is expected to put in office new leadership and choose a president who will lead the party in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The country’s oldest political grouping has been embroiled in deep-rooted internal wrangles with some faction that has reportedly been scheming against party president Dr Lazarus Chakwera and the disputes saw the party leadership dismissing its publicity secretary Jessie Kabwila and also suspending its first vice-president Richard Msowoya, secretary general Gustav Kaliwo and treasurer general Tony Kandiero.
Msowoya’s faction obtained the injunction restraining the party from convening an elective convention and stopping Chakwera, first defendant Ezekiel Ching’oma (representing all members of MCP national executive council – NEC), second defendant, from planning to hold the convention until the court makes determination.
But judge Jack N’riva after hearing submissions from both parties, on a Tuesday adjourned the matter to an unspecified date when he will deliver his ruling.
During their submissions, lawyers Robert Nthewa and Charles Mhone representing Chakwera and Ching’oma asked the court to discharge the injunction “in the interest of justice” as the Msowoya faction did not exhaust internal mechanism within the party as stipulated in article 65 of the MCP constitution.
Former Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale, now in private practice, argued that by calling for the convention, the MCP NEC acted against the party’s constitution because the body was illegitimate, saying he restructured the NEC by removing old members and unilaterally replacing them with new ones.
Kaphale also questioned the legality of the meeting of MCP NEC in January which resolved to call for April convention and that Msowoya’s faction were suspended “without rules of natural Justice.”
He argued: “The meeting by the NEC in January did not have any agenda. We were told the agenda would be circulated at the meeting.”
But lawyer Nthewa argued that Chakwera never flouted the party constitution as he was mandated by the 2013 national convention to fill in the res sing positions in the NEC.
Nthewa said the current NEC has the mandate to advance the objectives of the party and the Msowoya faction were only suspended from their positions and not expelled from the party, saying they would have to take a party convention as a right platform to claim their positions.
“They can renew their positions during the convention if nothing stands their way,” he said.
But Kaliwo objected that the convention does not give the president the appointing powers, saying such authority lies in the party constitution.
MCP supporters who came to the court clad in their party clothes booed Kaliwo as he left the court premises in his black Mercedes Benz with a South African registration. Some MCP supporters banged his vehicle while insulting Kaliwo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :