Three people, Atupele Muluzi, George Nga Mtafu and Moses Dossi, will tussle for the UDF national chairperson position at a convention scheduled for next Tuesday in Blantyre.
Party secretary general (SG) Kennedy Makwangwala confirmed the list in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Makwangwala himself faces the challenge from former Escom acting chief executive officer Kandi Padambo and trade unionist Austin Kalimanjira for the position of SG.
Dossi also confirmed submitting his form and said Muluzi and Mtafu did the same.
But UDF deputy publicity secretary Ken Ndanga refused to comment on the names of the contestants, while several sources who were attending the last national executive committee (NEC) meeting at UDF headquarters in Limbe on Tuesday corroborated the names.
The forms have since been collected by Unandi Banda of the National Election Systems Trust (Nest), who will be the returning officer at the conference.
Banda, who was seen walking out of the UDF meeting with the nomination forms, kept a tight lid on the list.
Ndanga said the position of national chairperson is open to all eligible candidates who meet the partyâ€™s constitutional requirements. They include being a citizen of Malawi; being at least 35 years of age and having been a member of the party for a continuous period of five years.
Ndanga said the names of the contestants will be officially announced at a press briefing before the end of the week. He said the deadline for the submission of the contestants has been shifted to Friday to allow more candidates time to submit their forms.
The development means that the UDF camp headed by Makwangwala is certain the convention takes place next week despite a plea by Friday Jumbe who is leading another faction to postpone the national conference as the two camps iron out their differences.
Today, the High Court in Blantyre will hear arguments and counter-arguments before making a determination that may seal the fate of the convention.
Meanwhile, a proposal to elect the partyâ€™s national chairperson from the Southern, Sapitwa, Eastern and Shire Valley regions was shot down at the Limbe NEC meeting.
Documents sourced by The Nation also show that the Central Region was assigned the first deputy national chairperson and the position of secretary general as top positions while the North was assigned the position of second deputy national chairperson and treasurer general as top most positions.