The High Court in Lilongwe has reinstated Enoch Chakufwa Chihana as Aford president barely days after the same court stopped him from acting and nullified all decisions he made in that capacity.
The restraining order granted by Justice Charles Mkandawire followed an application by some Aford members who argued that the president’s term had expired hence he had no authority to act as president.
But the new consent order effectively vacates the injunction sought by the aggrieved members of the party, who included Christopher Ritchie, Dan Msowoya, Owen Mumba and Ernest Kanyenda.
After the inter-party hearing both camps agreed that tenure for the entire national executive council (NEC) had expired and that the NEC is still mandated by the party constitution to oversee the holding of a convention, where new office bearers will be ushered in.
“NEC shall meet on 27 December 2017 to agree on when to hold the national conference or convention of the party, and the president is to summon this meeting of NEC,” reads part of the order, which further asks the party president to undertake full responsibility to ensure the security of everyone in the party.
A wrangle in Aford ensued over disagreement on when to hold a convention. One camp, led by Karonga Central legislator Frank Mwenifumbo, has been pushing for a convention to be held this month as per the constitution of the party, but Chihana has maintained that the party’s elective conference would be held in April next year, to give members ample time to prepare.
Mwenifumbo has declared interest to compete in the presidency. He is likely to face Chihana, whose leadership has come under contention for a long time.
In an interview yesterday, Chihana said the court order means that business in the party is back to normal.
“In democracy, difference in opinion is allowed. As president, I will try as much as possible to grant everyone a voice, but the problem is that some people in the party want to have only their voice heard, and not that of others,” he said.
On his part, Mwenifumbo said Chihana has limited powers as president for the party.
“President with mandate to summon the NEC and to oversee the processes to the convention. He can no longer fire or hire anyone. He is exploiting this outcome. Can anyone pride himself that he has been reinstated? This order simply strengthens the previous order,” he said.