The fate of three suspended Malawi Congress Party (MCP) senior members who appeared before the party’s disciplinary committee between October and November 2016 lies with the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
This is despite the disciplinary committee, in its report dated December 9 2016, recommending that the three’s suspension be lifted and that they should be reinstated to their old NEC positions.
The three are suspended publicity secretary and member of Parliament (MP) for Salima North West Jessie Kabwila, Lilongwe Mapuyu South MP Joseph Njobvuyalema and deputy secretary general James Chatonda Kaunda.
According to the report, which The Nation has seen, the disciplinary committee made two recommendations to the party’s NEC which is formation of a dialogue committee within the party to remedy similar issues in future, and lifting the three’s suspension and reinstating them to their old NEC positions.
“The committee proposed formation of a Dialogue Committee within the party to remedy such issues in future. Such a committee would be reporting to the president, with the following membership: (1) chairman —appointed by the president (2) three sitting members from NEC (3) two retired party veterans (4) and one lawyer.
“Concerns about any negative occurrences in the party should be channeled to the appropriate authorities or the Committee on Dialogue, herein proposed, which will be mandated by NEC to initiate dialogue and manage conflicts.
“The formation of such a committee is not a constitutional requirement but with the passing of time and respect of democratic values, it is now necessary to have this committee in place to amicably manage internal conflicts and misunderstanding on behalf of the leadership. The committee’s recommendations will have to be ratified by NEC and should be binding,” reads the report in part.
On the second recommendation of lifting the suspension, the report said that: “In the spirit of unity and progress in the party, the suspension of the three people should be lifted and the party should reinstate them to their old NEC positions. They should be allowed to work freely and participate in all party activities; however, utterances to the media with derogative remarks should stop.”
However, yesterday MCP second deputy secretary general (SG) Eisenhower Mkaka, without disputing contents of the report The Nation has seen, said what should be understood is that the disciplinary committee worked on delegated powers from the party’s NEC as such their report was addressed to the executive committee.
He added that there is no single person who can make a decision other than the party’s NEC which at the moment has not seen the report yet.
“So, we are waiting for the National Executive Committee to sit down and adopt the recommendations or decide otherwise,” said Mkaka in a telephone interview.
Njobvuyalema appeared before the disciplinary committee on October 18 on allegations that he and Kabwila masterminded the attempt to take over and ‘bomb’ the party headquarters while Kabwila appeared before the disciplinary on November 18 on the same charges.
However, in its observations, the disciplinary committee said that the issue surrounding the suspension of the two could only be proved by the police and a court of law through investigation and cross-examination.
“Meanwhile, it is not advisable for the party to go that far since the buildings were not destroyed and in their response to the allegation, they have reaffirmed their allegiance to the party and the leadership,” reads the report.
Kaunda , however, appeared before the disciplinary on November 26 2016 on matters regarding calls and support by some disgruntled MCP members for an emergency convention.
The disciplinary committee was commissioned by the MCP’s NEC on August 31 2016 following the suspension of some members of the party including the three.
The committee comprised five members and it was chaired by the party’s second vice president Mcdonald Lombola.
In the past months, the main opposition party has been moving from one difference to another with most of the differences bordering on the leadership style.
Four months ago, September 13 2016 to be precise, the party’s secretary general Gustave Kaliwo wrote MCP president Lazarus Chakwera,. stating that the relationship between former governing People’s Party (PP) vice-president Muhammad Sidik Mia and the party was “causing confusion” and described it as “the worst kept secret”.
In his letter, Kaliwo asked the MCP president to take some actions to reverse the challenges the party was facing. Among the remedies to be taken, Kaliwo proposed that Chakwera should urgently call for a NEC meeting comprising NEC members that held positions prior to August 27 2015 to ratify the expansion and filling in of positions as stated in his communiqué of August 27 2015.
However, Chakwera, while acknowledging receipt of the letter, refused to comment on the claims made, saying the matter was in court but he challenged Kaliwo to present his observation to the MCP management and NEC after the court case was concluded.
Kaliwo’s stand was, however, backed by scores of MCP leaders from 11 Southern and Eastern regions’ districts who said by writing their president, Kaliwo had demonstrated “maturity” to help with the unending wrangles. n