Dust refused to settle in the embattled United Democratic Front (UDF), whose latest squabble over a meeting at the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s national headquarters in Limbe is yet to be determined by the courts.
The UDF camp, led by the expelled secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, failed to conduct their planned meeting after a court ordered an inter-partes hearing of an injunction earlier obtained by the Friday Jumbe camp.
Makwangwala had earlier called for the meeting of all UDF National Executive Committee (NEC) members who were elected before July 16 2009.
Despite the injunction, which was obtained on the night of December 27, on behalf of Hophmally Makande, Jumbe, Humphrey Mvula and UDF, delegates to the Makwangwala meeting flooded the party headquarters as early as 8am.
The injunction was obtained immediately after the Jumbe camp, which was meeting at Superior Hotel on Tuesday, resolved to suspend UDF former national chairperson Bakili Muluzi and expel his son Atupele and Makwangwala from the party.
Notable veteran UDF members seen at the offices waiting for the vacation of the injunction included Kaphwiti Banda, Alice Sumani, Lilian Patel, Henry Moyo and Kajiso Gondwe.
The injunction ordered Makwangwala to stop holding the position of secretary general, holding out as an agent of or acting for and on behalf of the party and that he must stop presiding over or calling or summoning members of UDF to any meeting.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you disobey this order, you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized,Ã¢â‚¬Â reads the court order by Justice Healey Potani.
While waiting to hear from lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale who was battling in court to vacate the injunction, MP for Mangochi East and regional governor for UDF Eastern Region Abubakar Mbaya told the gathering that people who failed to win in their constituencies should not confuse the party.
Mbaya described MP for Machinga North East Atupele Muluzi, who has expressed interest to run for the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presidential candidature, as somebody who won peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s votes and is aware of the laws of this country.
Mbaya argued that the issue of AtupeleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s age should not bother the membership because it is not for the Jumbe camp to tell when Atupele was born, but his parents and that as MPs, they know the legal requirement for one to contest presidential elections.
Regional governor for the South MacDonald Symon said the fact that the secretary general is on their side means that the Jumbe camp is no longer a faction but a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rebel group.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Commenting on the developments in the party, UDF campaign, strategy and development director Davies Katsonga said the Jumbe camp to which he belongs feels the former national chairperson, in imposing his son, is undermining the party.
Katsonga, who rejoined the party mid this year, said Muluzi knows the UDF secretary general does not have power to sack anybody from the party.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is the committee he chairs that does and yet, Muluzi allegedly induces Makwangwala into making this erroneous decision and announcement that he had taken over all NEC positions and reversed all decisions made by and in the party to 16th July 2009,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Katsonga.
Institute for Policy Interaction executive director Rafik Hajat said UDF is at a crossroads and that the best way forward is for the party to revert to its old constitution.
In an interview later, Kaphale said the court ruled that the two sides should argue their cases in court on Saturday.