A Zomba-based political analyst has observed that continued squabbles within the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), especially on when the party must hold its convention, is clear indication that all is not rosy within the party.
At the moment, party secretary general Gustav Kaliwo has reiterated that he will not backtrack on his plan to vacate the injunction obtained by party president Lazarus Chakwera, restraining him from calling for a convention.
In April, amid increased internal squabbles, Kaliwo and his deputy Chatonda Kaunda, announced the party would hold a national convention from July 7 to 9 this year, following growing concerns from some of the party’s regional and district leaders with the leadership.
Kaliwo, a private practice lawyer, then quoted Article 40 of the MCP constitution, which states that district committees or the national executive committee are mandated to call for a convention.
But Chakwera obtained an injunction in June, arguing that Kaliwo was supposed to put across to the party’s politburo the request for an emergency convention.
But at a rally held last month in Mzimba, with party’s first deputy president Richard Msowoya and Salima North West Member of Parliament (MP) Jessie Kabwila, Kaliwo pledged to tussle with the party’s leadership in court “until a convention is held this year”.
However, a month later, nothing has happened on challenging the convention, a development Kaliwo attributes to the just-ended judiciary support staff.
In an interview on Thursday, Kaliwo said the just-ended judiciary support staff strike was the major reason for the delay in vacating the injunction.
“The plan to vacate the injunction is still there, it is just that we were delayed by the strike at the courts. Now that the strike is over and courts have opened, we will soon be going there to fight the injunction so that the convention is held as soon as possible,”he said.
Kaliwo maintained that an early convention would help to resolve some of the challenges the party was facing as well as help the party to prepare well for the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Kaliwo argues that in 2014, the party complained that it did not have enough time to campaign, therefore, it would be repeating the same mistake if it would hold the convention in 2018 as there will not be enough time to campaign.
MCP second deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka on Friday refused to talk on the matter, saying: “Takamba kwambiri za convention [we have talked a lot about the convention].
However, recently, Chakwera is on record as saying MCP will hold a convention to elect new leaders probably by January 2018.
Meanwhile, University of Malawi political analyst Happy Kayuni has said a convention was fundamental to the party and having two different versions from people with key positions is a clear indication that something is wrong within MCP.
He said the development implies that there is a lot of politicking within the party, which is not in good faith, describing it as a clear indication that the party was not in order.
The squabbles, argues Kayuni, also questions willingness of warring factions to heed Chakwera’s continued calls for unity in the party.
But Kayuni noted that this was a problem in all major political parties in the country because they are not based on ideologies, but “are just like clubs with one intention of ensuring that they push the agenda of somebody, and not necessarily to push the national call”.
At a rally he addressed in Balaka, last week, Chakwera without making any reference to the convention issue, told those he dubbed the party’s ‘dissidents’ to accept that the party is undergoing transition, which he said must be celebrated at all levels by every bonafide members, instead of fighting the leadership.