Tembo denies open terms bid: Welcomes contest at MCP convention

Tembo: MCP will bounce back in power 2014
Tembo: MCP will bounce back in power 2014

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president has dismissed as misleading press reports that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party has proposed constitutional amendment to allow its president have open terms.

Tembo, who has declared that he will seek renewal of his mandate as party president, said on Saturday that what appeared in the newspapers about ‘open terms’ was “misrepresentation of the facts.”

“People should be given a chance to choose whoever is qualified,” said Tembo in an interview monitored on Zodiak Broadcasting Service online streaming.

“Open term is not a correct presentation,” he said, adding “the party must consider and choose people that are suitable according to the regulations.”

But for Tembo to contest, he will need the party to amend its constitution as it only  allows MCP president to contest only for two terms on the party’s ticket as a presidential candidate in general elections.

Tembo vied for the country’s presidency on the MCP ticket in 2004 and 2009 general elections respectively.

He however said he collected his nomination forms and will be submitting to the party so that he can run for presidency.

“I haven’t filled the form yet… but I will fill it,” he informed.

“If some people want me to stand as president of MCP I will stand,” said the conviction politician.

“Delegates of the convention will choose a candidate who they think is acceptable to them,” he added.

Tembo said MCP convention will be held from April 27 to 29 at Bingu wa Mutharika international conference hall in Lilongwe.

The MCP president explained that on April 27 he will open the convention “where invited guests will be allowed in, thereafter will be closed show for bona fide delegates of the MCP.”

Asked to comment on the coming in of other contestants like Secretary General Chris Daza, Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, Edwin Banda and Felix Jumbe, the incumbent MCP leader said: “Its welcome, that’s what democracy is all about.”

Pressed if he will accept result if he loses, Tembo responded: “Anybody who contest must accept either to win or lose. If I lose I will definitely accept and I will support [the winner].”

On the calls for MCP to inject new blood in its rank and file, Tembo said: “The history of MCP is very clear in this issue. I became myself MP at the age of 21.”

Tembo who expressed optimism that MCP “will win back the government” in 2014 said: “I have always felt very secure at times. I have sometimes been insecure depending on the issue being in consideration. I would not have been all this time be leading MCP if I did not know how to deal with them.”

The MCP president who is also leader of opposition urged the party delegates “to come to the convention free of any bias.”

“They should be democratic, follow procedures with one aim to build MCP and strengthen it

“So they must go there united as members of the MCP. And they must disregard rumours which are created by enemies in order to distract members of MCP from their mission,” said Tembo.

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