PPM convention: Katsonga goes unopposed as some delegates condemn him for scheming

Acting President of the opposition People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) Mark Katsonga Phiri has gone unopposed at the party’s day-long national indaba held at COMESA Hall in Blantyre Thursday.

Prior to the convention, it was announced that Katsonga would face two undisclosed challengers but when time for voting came only his name was mentioned.

The development means Katsonga will guide the 11-year-old party to its imaginable maiden victory during the May 20 Tripartite Elections.

Katsonga:  PPM presidential candidate
Katsonga: PPM presidential candidate

However, there was discontent from certain delegates amidst the voting process when the president-elect seemingly “objected” some members to contest in certain positions.

One of them was Redson Munlo, the outgoing publicity secretary, who was vying for the position of secretary general but was blocked.

An annoyed delegate from the central province told Nyasa Times Katsonga wanted his own people to be in certain positions hence blocking Munlo.

“It is unfair, Munlo is one person who has all along worked very hard to put the party afloat and blocking him was inhumane. We are not happy, we have actually left the hall [COMESA] now, let them continue their way, there is no democracy at all,” an angry delegate who refused to be named told Nyasa Times from outside COMESA Hall.

He claimed Katsonga wanted the delegates to vote for his “employees” Wellington Chatepa  who was retained as  secretary general and Joseph Mazizi formely of Zodiak radio won the publicity secretary post.

Opening the indaba, Katsonga asked government to stop the current automatic fuel price mechanism and depending on donor aid if the country was to develop.

“Malawi has faced many problems as a result of high dependency on donor aid, this is the time to start depending on our own,” he said.

The PPM leader also said his party’s 20-point plan would help solve some of the problems the country is currently experiencing.

“Our Party adopted a 20-point plan to help solve problems which we are currently facing when voted into power come May 20,” he said.

The wealthy businessman then advised fellow presidential candidates from other parties to stop abandoning developmental activities initiated by their predecessors due to political differences.

“My advice to the presidential candidates is that they should stop abandoning positive development activities done by their predecessors as this disturbs national development,” he said.

During the convention the party also observed a minute of silence to honour the party’s founding father late Aleke Banda and other members who have died over the years.

About 1300 delegates converged in the mercantile city of Blantyre to attend the K50million day-long indaba.

Besides electing the party’s presidential candidate and other leaders, delegates also amended the constitution and reviewed the party’s manifesto before adopting them.

The convention was also expected to elect 48 other leaders to fill various positions.

Founded in 2003 just a year before the bloody 2004 general elections, this was the second time PPM was holding a convention to elect leaders.

The first was held in Lilongwe in 2004 where one of the founders and veteran politician late Aleke Banda was unanimously elected president with Katsonga as his deputy.

But Katsonga assumed the presidency in 2009 after members voted him during an extraordinary meeting after late Banda, one of the country’s most-decorated politicians, announced his retirement as president and also from active politics.

Now the next item for the party is to embark on primaries across the country to elect candidates for parliamentary and local government elections.

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