The People’s Party (PP) says its deputy regional secretary for the South, Leonard Mphiza, has shown interest to challenge party president Joyce Banda at their convention slated for August 30 and 31.
This will be the party’s second convention since it was formed in 2011.
In an interview yesterday, PP spokesperson Noah Chimpeni said the party is not restricting anyone from contesting for positions at the convention.
But he could not indicate how many positions will be contested at the convention to be held at Robins Park Hall in Blantyre.
Said Chimpeni: “All the positions will be up for grabs, but for now I cannot say how many. But everybody is free to contest on any positions and on the presidency, we have Mr Mphiza from Neno and we have welcomed his decision.”
He said their initial budget of K80 million may go up considering some logistical and general issues for the convention.
Chimpeni said everything is set for the convention and expressed optimism that it will be a success.
Mphiza announced his decision last week when he met the party’s district committee in Neno.
He said he made his decision so the party regains its former glory, adding he has set aside K30 million for his campaign.
“I have already started approaching delegates in all the regions in the country to ensure that when we go to the convention, I come out strong. I am confident that I will give her [Banda] a good run for her money,” he said.
Mphiza says he holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Liverpool in Zimbabwe. He is currently heading a construction company in Neno.
In an earlier interview w, political analyst George Phiri observed that the PP will have a big challenge revamping the party because it has lost the flavour it had two years ago.
He said: “The party has lost in many ways. It has lost important leaders that would have helped to organise it. It will be difficult for the party to reclaim its lost glory.”
PP was formed in April 2011 after Banda alongside Khumbo Kachali were fired from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in December 2010 for allegedly forming parallel structures in the party.
The party was later registered in July 2011 and held its first convention on August 27 and 28 in 2012 after Banda became president in April 2012 following the death of then president Bingu wa Mutharika.
*Additional reporting by Neno MEC stringer Enock Naphazi.