PP convention opens, JB unopposed as challenger withdraws

Malawi’s ruling People’s Party (PP) convention opened on Monday at College of Medicine sports complex in Blantyre with a call to members to demonstrate the party’s democracy and unity.

Opening the convention, President Banda said democracy in Malawi “has matured”.

“Democracy has come to stay and democracy in Malawi has matured,” she said.

Banda said PP has weathered the storm to have it established but said there should be “no retribution.”

President Banda: PP on the move

“You can delay change but never at all stop it,” she said.

President Banda, Malawi’s first female president following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in April, said she has started with brave reforms but stressed that “the journey continues.”

The only person who expressed interest to challenge President  Banda withdrew his candidature, paving way for the Head of State to sail through unopposed.

Fatchi, a Blantyre-based businessman, said he had withdrawn because there were clear signs that Banda would get “100 % votes from delegates.”

The businessperson said  he failed to collect and fill nomination forms in time as stipulated in the party’s constitution.

He however commended the PP for allowing him to attempt to challenge President Banda, saying the open contest demonstrated that democracy is being respected in PP.

Delegates to the convention total around 1,950 drawn from across the country. The dean of the diplomatic corps, Madam Thandiwe Dumbutchena from Zimbabwe is also in participation, leading members of the diplomatic community.

Others who attended included former  president Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The official opening was also  attended by leaders from opposition parties who included Kamlepo Kalua (MDP), Mark Katsonga (PPM) Gwanda Chakuamba (NRP) and Sam Mpasu (UDF).

The delegates were persuaded by President Banda to elect credible people to the party’s national executive committee in a peaceful and dignified manner.

“We shall stand united and move into the future with hope,” concluded Banda.

Apart from choosing the party’s president, delegates to the convention will also elect three vice presidents responsible for the party’s leadership in the Northern (operations), Central (political affairs) and Southern (administrative) regions.

Invited guests at PP convention. Opposiiton leaders from left, Kamlepo, Mpasu, Chakuamb anad Mark Katsonga

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