Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has dismissed calls by the party’s members of Parliament (MP) to fire embattled secretary general Gustave Kaliwo for allegedly bringing confusion in the party.
Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament and has come under fire for tolerating anarchy in the party, told his party members on Saturday that he has no reason to fire the secretary general and members of his faction.
But the MCP leader dismissed Kaliwo’s call for the convention. Instead, he said he would announce the dates for the party’s national conference after six months.
Chakwera made his position known during an emergency national executive committee (NEC) meeting held at MCP national headquarters in Lilongwe on Saturday to discuss emerging party issues, according to MCP second deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka.
About a week ago, some 30 MCP legislators called a news conference in Lilongwe where they asked Kaliwo to voluntarily resign or that Chakwera should get him out of the party.
But in his reaction, Kaliwo, a private practice lawyer who has previously served as director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), rebuffed the call for him to resign, saying he remains MCP and no one can force him to step down.
However, in an interview yesterday, Mkaka said Chakwera told the party’s NEC members he was in discussions with Kaliwo on the need to work together.
Said Mkaka: “The president has been receiving a number of petitions requesting him to fire the secretary general and the popular expectation was the he or the NEC would crack the whip, but the president said that was not the best approach.
“He said he was in talks with the SG and they have agreed on the way forward and he thinks we can move forward as a unified force by getting more people on board than firing them.”
Mkaka also said Chakwera has said the convention dates will be announced after six months.
He said: “He said there was no need for the alleged convention called by honourable Kaliwo and instead he said he would officially call for a regular convention after six months where every position, including his, would be contested.”
Kaliwo, backed by his deputy Chatonda Kaunda announced on April 30 this year that MCP would be holding the convention from July 7 to 9 at a venue to be announced.
Yesterday, Kaliwo did not pick up his phone, but he is on record as having told The Nation on June 9 this year that his faction would proceed with the convention as planned.
However, the party obtained an injunction blocking the convention after made an application through lawyer Peter Chakwantha, who is MCP legislator for Lilongwe South West. n