Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) says will hold its much touted convention on October 14 this year, both the party’s Secretary General Keenedy Makwangwala and deputy spokesman Ken Ndanga have confirmed.
This follows an earlier interview the party’s interim leader Friday Jumbe told Capital Radio that the party cannot go to convention this year citing the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika as contributing factor.
Jumbe further told the local radio that once the political situation has stabilized in the country, then the party would meet to map the way forward.
“Possibly next year that is when we will hold the convention, we were disturbed by the sudden death of Bingu wa Mutharika,” said Jumbe who is leading a faction where most of its members have joined People’s Party..
But in his response, Makwangwala laughed off Jumbe’s assertions saying, all preparations for the party’s fourth indaba are at an advanced stage and that the committee that was set up to raise funds has almost met the K25 million it had targeted.
“Why should Bingu’s death have anything to do with UDF? That just tells you that somebody is confused. As a party we are proud to say preparations for the convention are nearing completion, the committee that was put in place to raise funds will soon brief me and fellow executive members,” said Makwangwala.
The outspoken UDF official, who briefly belonged to the Jumbe camp before dumping it to offer support for Machinga North-East Parliamentarian Atupele Muluzi, now Economic Planning Minister, says the party is still strong despite other reports that it is heading for demise following the coming of Peoples Party (PP) as new ruling party.
On his part, Ndanga added that the UDF cannot be held to ransom by what he described as a handful of individuals fighting for their political survival.
“Let me agree with the secretary general that as a party we have been working day in day out to prepare for the convention so any suggestions that the convention will be held next year are a mere bluff, laughable and childish. We cannot be held to ransom by a faction of three people, we’re working tirelessly to rebuild the party. The good thing is most of our structures are intact this and will help us to approach the 2014 elections with confidence,” contended Ndanga.
UDF has been gripped by severe infighting within the party’s rank and file with most of the party’s followers pushing for the young Muluzi to be standard bearer come 2014, while some old guards have felt betrayed and have accused former Head of State and Atupele’s father Bakili Muluzi of disregarding the constitution of the party by using his political prowess to impose his son as presidential candidate, an accusation the former president has denied.