Divisions and in-fighting within the opposition Malawi Congress Party(MCP) have taken a new twist with Salima North-West Member of Parliament (MP) Jessie Kabwila accusing some of her fellow MCP MPs of ‘cyber bullying’ her.
This is comes in the wake of a picture which has gone viral in which Kabwila was captured at OR Tambo Airport, South Africa on her way from other engagements in her capacity as Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Women Parliament Caucus chairperson. In the background, the picture is showing long-time personal aide to President Peter Mutharika, Ben Phiri.
The picture is believed to have ignited fury among the MCP hierarchy with some of her fellow MPs accusing her of associating with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with the view of disturbing and causing divisions within the party, a claim which Kabwila has refuted.
Addressing the press in Lilongwe on Friday afternoon, Kabwila said it is unfortunate that some members within MCP are hell bent at finishing her off politically by creating false stories about her association with other political groupings, apart from MCP.
“I am really saddened with the kind of treatment that I have been receiving from the MCP membership, which is clearly aimed at weakening my political survival among my constituents.
“The lies being propagated by my own family, is now reaching the people who put me here and the people I serve. The intention of the proponents of these lies want to finish me politically, that is why they are targeting the voters in Salima North-West,” she said.
Kabwila said contrary to what people are saying, she went to South Africa to attend two conferences owing to her position as Sadc Women Parliament Caucus chairperson, and not under the sponsorship of any political party.
“I am loyal to this country. Everything I do is for the benefit of Malawians. I went there to push for an agenda that is good for all Malawians, which was not even political in nature. And, besides, Ben Phiri is a Malawian and nothing can stop me from greeting him everywhere I can meet him,” she said.
Efforts to get comment from Phiri on the matter proved futile as we could not reach him on his mobile.
In a thread, which she shared with the press, extracted from some WhatsApp forum for MCP MPs, one MCP MP labels Kabwila ‘Judas Scalliot’, accusing her of being behind the confusion currently reigning in the party.
“Kabwila ukudzatani kuno ku Jo’burg? What business is there between you and Ben Phiri of DPP? Kabwila you are MP for MCP and Ben is for DPP, what mission do you have towards MCP squabbles? Now we see Kabwila is njoka muudzu, though she looks innocent,” reads part of the text captioning the picture in question.
In the same text, which was made at 11.02pm on the day Kabwila arrived from SA, the MP went on calling her names such as a sell-out who is betraying MCP because of money.
When pressed on what she makes of her political future in the party, the former University of Malawi (Unima) lecturer only said “time will tell”.
“We cannot operate on ‘ifs’. I would prefer we cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said.
Kabwila, however, reiterated her commitment and loyalty to MCP, saying whatever happens, she will die a member of the party.