One of the frontrunners in the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) presidential race ahead of the party’s elective convention, Frank Mwenifumbo, has condemned what he describes as “horrible threats” towards him and his followers by his main competitor Enoch Chihana.
The AFORD convention is scheduled to take place over the weekend in Lilongwe, but Mwenifumbo and his followers claim they are not yet aware of the exact venue of the indaba.
“This is unacceptable in modern democratic Malawi. As a member of AFORD, I have the right to contest for any position in the party and to be voted by my supporters,” Mwenifumbo told a news conference in Lilongwe Wednesday.
His outbursts come after a voice clip in which Chihana and AFORD Secretary General Christopher Ritchie are engaged in a bitter verbal tirade over the convention’s finances, went viral in social media forums.
In the clip, Chihana who is the current President of AFORD, is asking Ritchie to refund his 17 million kwacha contribution to the conference by Friday, failing which, he would use his bouncers to take back the money.
Apparently, Ritchie is a Mwenifumbo sympathiser which has irked Chihana.
“You will not retain your seat at the convention for disrespecting me by taking party issues to the court. I tell you, political issues are bigger than the courts,” Chihana fumed at Ritchie.
“Whether I return my position or lose it, is not the issue. I want you to tell me the exact venue of the conference,” retorted Ritchie.
Chihana is also accused of threatening to beat up delegates suspected to be loyal to Mwenifumbo, a Karonga Central Parliamentarian and former Cabinet Minister.
In fact, Mwenifumbo claimed that his children are also receiving threats over their father’s decision to challenge Chihana at the conference.
At the media briefing, Mwenifumbo described this scathing verbal exchange as very dishonourable to Chihana.
“This man ought to follow in the footsteps of his father, the late Thom Chakufwa Chihana who was a true democrat and a humble statesman who accomodated everyone in the party”.
Added Mwenifumbo; “Just imagine, up to now I and the prospective delegates have not been briefed on the exact venue of the indaba. Is this how we will operate? The whole set up is skewed to one person and tantamount to rigging”.
Efforts to speak to Chihana and Chairperson of the organizing committee of the convention Tanilani Chipeta, proved futile.
But it is alleged that Chipeta and his committee are putting the exact venue under wraps due to security reasons.
The current developments in AFORD create fears of possible violent crashes at the convention between factions loyal to Mwenifumbo and Chihana.
But Mwenifumbo said his faction is prepared for the convention, insisting that they are not afraid of anyone.
“Even if they tell us the venue just hours before the convention, we will go, no matter how far it would be. It is time change must come in AFORD,” he told the journalistsFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :