MCP puts ‘fees’ for aspiring presidential candidates

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) aspirants for the party presidency have been asked to contribute about K3 million each to qualify as a candidate at the party’s convention which was scheduled for April at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe but was postponed to an indefinite date.

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

A party insider   confided to Nyasa Times that the party has resolved to introduce the fees as one way of  screening the aspirants and also raise funds for the indaba.

Njobvuyalema initially claimed the party was facing logistical challenges to hold the convention.

Munlo: MCP presidential aspirant
Munlo: MCP presidential aspirant

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

Njobvuyalema declined to comment on the K3 million fees for presidential aspirants.

But published reports on Sunday indicated that MCP is in dire need of financial resources as a law firm  G. Nankhuni and Partners,  is demanding payment of about K3.5 million for legal services the party enjoyed in two cases in 2012.

If the party fails to pay, the Commercial Division of the High Court in Lilongwe has warned  it will declare the MCP bankrupt  and therefore not be eligible to contest in elections.

And on Monday,  press reports say MCP  is monitoring how aspirants are financing campaigns ahead of the big meet.

MCP administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya said the party has been getting reports that some of the aspirants are begging money to hold their campaign meetings, insisting they only want candidates with “sound financial standing” and not beggars.

“Currently, we are monitoring aspiring candidates. MCP has structures in all the districts and it is not difficult for us to get that information. We are getting reports on wherever the aspirants are getting loans to pay for their campaign costs,” Chidaya is quoted  saying.

MCP developed an eight-point checklist to scrutinise aspirants for the party’s NEC positions which 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 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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