President Joyce Banda has endorsed Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira as People’s Party (PP) vice-president for the South responsible for administration.
Mpinganjira, according to the PP constitution, will be reporting and responsible to the President on matters affecting her office and will also receive reports and be responsible for the offices of the secretary general, treasurer general, the national director of international affairs, protocol and publicity secretary.
PP secretary general Paul Maulidi and Mpinganjira confirmed the endorsement in an interview on Thursday.
But a governance and development specialist Henry Chingaipe has questioned whether Mpinganjira is a still a force to reckon with to unite the party in the Southern Region.
The party recently also lost the services of another vice-president Cassim Chilumpha. He was replaced by Uladi Mussa. Mussa came third in a race that pitted him against Chilumpha and Clement Stambuli.
Mpinganjira replaces Muhammad Sidik Mia who resigned from the position and as a member of the party last Friday. He also quit the Cabinet portfolio of Minister of Transport and Public Works.
“Yes, I am confirming that the National Executive Committee [NEC] decided to appoint Honourable Mpinganjira. The appointment is with immediate effect,” said Maulidi.
He described the appointment of Mpinganjira as “substantive” meaning the veteran politician is not holding the position on interim basis.
Maulidi defended the appointment of Mpinganjira, describing him as capable and experienced politician.
“We looked at the calibre of the person. He is well-experienced and capable. Nobody can question the experience of Honourable Mpinganjira,” said Maulidi.
Mpinganjira said he was grateful to God that President Banda endorsed him.
“I will continue to work as hard as I have always done to win the 2014 elections. Our strength is in team work,” said Mpinganjira.
“My immediate task is to strengthen team work; that is what PP is all about. It is not about individuals. It will be my responsibility that the policies and philosophy of President Joyce Banda are explained to everybody,” he said.
Commenting on the August 27, 2012 defeat to Mia, Mpinganjira said he has always looked forward.
“What happened there is now history. In an election somebody has to win. But I have never lost my strength in politics,” he stated.
Chingaipe observed that Mpinganjira was a political heavyweight who mobilised support during his days in United Democratic Front (UDF) before forming the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). But he wondered whether Mpinganjira still commands the support of the Southern Region.
“The People’s Party expressed lack of confidence in him at the convention. This is something of a problem. As the vice-president of the party, he should have been endorsed by the party process,” said Chingaipe, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research.
During the PP convention in 2012, Mpinganjira only managed 272 votes against Mia’s 1 711. He accepted the results with humility, saying he was not bitter with the loss.