Tembo barred to contest at Malawi Congress Party indaba – Kalelo

Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP)  says its convention next month in Lilongwe will go ahead as scheduled  and that party president John Tembo is barred by the Constitution to seek a third  term.

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.

“We are expecting not less than 1 000 delegates from across the country,” Kalelo said on Wednesday.

Tembo: To run or not to run, MCP convention to decide
Tembo: To run or not to run, MCP convention to decide

Kalelo said the race for presidency is open to “every bonafide member of MCP”  as long as he/she meets the legal requirement.

“However, although I know that some people have already started campaigning for the position and the president is aware, everything being done is unofficial,” he said.

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 two names have come forward to  declare their interest to run for presidency. They are MCP secretary general Chris  Daza and Nkhotakota Central Member of Parliament Edwin Banda.

The two wants to challenge veteran politician Tembo for the position.

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 in an interview published in The Nation on Wednesday.

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.”

Meanwhile,MCP director of the convention Joseph Njobvuyalema has disclosed that the  party is still struggling to come up with a budget for the indaba .

Njobvuyalema also told the paper tha the party is seeking additional funding from well wishers.

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