Tembo says he will accept defeat at Malawi Congress Party convention

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president John Tembo, who is being asked to step down and pave way for ‘new blood’, has maintained that he will  contest for the presidency during the party’s forthcoming convention but says he will honorably accept defeat if he loses.

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.

The veteran politician said he does not want to be source confusion in MCP and hopes the party’s next president will ensure that the party becomes stronger than it is at the moment.

“I don’t want to cause more confusion in the party. I will avoid anything that will cause confusion,” said Tembo.

MCP in May cancelled its long-awaited convention which attracted about 10 contestants for the party’s presidency including retired Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, former Malawi Assemblies of God president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, former Farmers Union of Malawi president Felix Jumbe and former Cabinet minister Joda Kanjere . The convention was cancelled because of financial problems.

Tembo: I would not want to be a source of confusion
Tembo: I would not want to be a source of confusion

But  Tembo said the party is set to hold the indaba this month end.

MCP Director of Elections Joseph Njobvuyalema, who will also be chair of the convention confirmed at the indaba will take place at the Bingu International Conference in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.

Some MCP regional committee members are considering offering party president John Tembo an exit position of national chairperson or patron should he pull out of the party’s presidential race.

But MCP administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya has said the delegates have no powers to create positions in the party.

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,” MCP spokeman Jolly Kalelo is on record saying.

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.”


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