Embattled Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Gustave Kaliwo yesterday described the party’s planned convention in Lilongwe as ‘illegal’.
The party on Thursday resolved to hold an elective conference at the weekend after the courts vacated an injunction restraining it from doing so for several months.
Kaliwo, who was reinstated into his position this week, told reporters at a press conference in Blantyre that there would be consequences for usurping his powers. He did not elaborate.
Kaliwo asked delegates travelling to Lilongwe for the convention to return to their bases since they would just go for a visit to the capital city.
He said: “Two issues are quite clear; that two days ago, I was reinstated in my capacity as the MCP secretary general. Another is that the party decided to go behind my back and call for a convention which I, as party chief executive, has not sanctioned.
“Notwithstanding my being shortchanged, the decision to hold a convention does not have blessings from party vice-president and treasurer general.
“In this regard, according to the party constitution, the national executive committee [NEC] that endorsed this decision is illegal and there is no convention.”
Kaliwo said he would not rule out remedial options such as obtaining a court injunction against the party on the matter.
But when asked why the party has been failing to come up with a negotiated settlement, he pushed back the blame on the party president Lazarus Chakwera.
“If there is someone who wants peace in the party, that is me. In December 2017, we agreed to bury the hatchet and work together for the good of the party, but some people, who want to hijack the agenda of the party, brought people who were not NEC members, which is illegal,” he said.
On Thursday, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge Frank Kapanda stayed the injunction obtained by Kaliwo and other members, pending an inter-partes hearing, which he set for May 17.
“It is hereby ordered that the interlocutory injunction granted herein by honourable Justice Tembo in the court below against the appellants … be and is hereby stayed pending the hearing of the inter partes application for the stay hereby set down for hearing on 17th May 2018 at 14:00 hours before Justice Kapanda in Lilongwe,” reads part of the document.
With the vacating of the injunction, one of the lawyers representing MCP, Michael Goba Chipeta, said the party was now free to do what it could not have done when the injunction was in place.