Four new names are being linked to join the presidential race in the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) at the national convention later this month.
MCP spokesperson Jolly Kalelo said the convention is on from April 27 to 29 and it is taking place at Natural Resource College (NRC) in Lilongwe.
MCP, which ruled the country from independence in 1964 to the dawn of plural politics in 1994, is expected to elect its president who will lead the party in the 2014 presidential race.
So far four new names have been linked to the race after two declared their interest to run for presidency.
MCP secretary general Chris Daza and Nkhotakota Central Member of Parliament Edwin Banda expressed interest to challenge veteran politician John Tembo for the position of president.
But according to reports the new names emerging include Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) President Felix Jumbe, Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of the Assemblies of GOD, Richard Msowoya, who once served as Minister of Education during the DPP regime, and Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo.
The MCP Director of Elections, Joseph Njobvuyayema and spokesman Kalelo neither denied nor confirmed these developments .
Kalelo said the race for presidency is open to “every bonafide member of MCP” as long as he/she meets the legal requirement.
MCP said the contestants will only be known when they officially fill the nomination forms.
On his part Njobvuyalema described the development as “mere hype” as the convention approaches, saying the MCP will publicize name of the candidates.
Jumbe, Rev Dr. Chakwera, Chief Justice Munlo and Msowoya are yet to comment on their positions.
But the party’s constitution bars Tembo to seek re-election having exhausted his two mandatory terms, which Kalelo confirmed.
“On the presidency, the constitution clearly stipulates that a person is allowed to stand for the presidential position just for two terms. Beyond that, the person should bow out and give a chance to others to contest as well. Looking at the current situation, the constitution bars Honourable Tembo from standing again,” said Kalelo
Kalelo, however, said Tembo may be in the race if delegates at the convention decide to amend the constitution , saying “ the convention is a forum where any change to the constitution occurs. So, it all depends on what the delegates will say—they will decide the outcome.”
Adding : “I am told some people in the party are planning to get an injunction against any move to change the law, but what I can say is that let us cross the bridge when we reach it.”
Kalelo nonetheless said MCP should respect its constitution to win hearts of Malawians.
“ I believe Malawians will not trust us if we play around with our constitution. We will be judged as a party that easily breaks its laws. As such, as its spokesperson, I can righty say here that MCP must respect its own constitution,” he said.
Kalelo showered praise, saying “he has done a lot for the party to be where it is today. History will really record him a hero. In fact, he is a leader who also believes in democracy.”
He said MCP “will give Malawi a leader they will love and admire.” —(Additional reporting by Rabecca Chimjeka, a blogger)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :