The Alliance for Democracy (Aford) national executive committee (NEC) has resolved to hold its convention in April next year following protracted wrangles between two factions.
A faction to which the secretary general (SG) Christopher Ritchie and co-opted member Frank Mwenifumbo belong, have been agitating for a December convention but the High Court in Lilongwe ruled last week that only a NEC could call for a convention.
It was politician and long time Aford member Dan Msowoya, Ritchie and Owen Mumba who challenged Aford president Enock Chihana’s continuing leadership of the party following the expiry of his tenure of office in September this year.
Speaking after a six-hour long meeting in Lilongwe yesterday, Chihana said the committee had resolved that party structures should be scrutinised first before a convention could be held.
“We have agreed that we will have a convention anytime in April but before that we will look at the structures that are in place. There was no infighting in the party but differences in opinions but that is what democracy is about,” he said.
Chihana said scrutinising the structures was necessary to ensure only accredited delegates take part in the convention.
“We have a lot of mess to fix and restructure the party. Aford has to clean its house first,” he said.
The party has set a budget of a minimum of K15 million to hold the convention and will depend on well-wishers to assist.
Speaking in an interview, a resigned Ritchie who attended the meeting said in a democracy majority ruled and he would go with the decision of the NEC.
He said he would take the resolution of the NEC to those who agitated for a convention in December and “will hear from them if they agree with this decision or not.”
The NEC meeting was not without controversy as at one point, the SG threatened to leave and had to be persuaded to stay on.
“A SG khalani pansi,” an executive member was heard saying.
The decision to hold a convention was out to a vote by a show of hands with the options of between February and May put to the meeting.
“We should be very careful with structures, many want to contest but when they lose they want to leave the party. That’s why I want that these should be scrutinised carefully to avoid this,” Chihana said to the meeting.
The party hired two police officers to keep an eye on the proceedings in case of violence erupting.
If Aford holds a convention in April next year, it will be the first political party to do so ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.