Former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) top official and Cabinet minister during the Kamuzu Banda regime, Jodder Kanjere, has joined the race for the party’s presidency after presenting his nomination papers on Friday.
Kanjere presented his nomination papers just hours after another aspirant, Malawi Assemblies of God president the Reverend Dr Lazarus Chakwera, also presented his.
Kanjere’s presentation has brought to five, the number of aspirants for the top position in the official opposition party.
As of on Sunday, MCP administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya said some more have filled nomination papers, but could not mention them “because this is not a working day”.
He said: “Call me during working hours. I leave files at the office.”
Other probable candidates during the party’s convention to be held on April 27 include the current party president John Tembo, secretary general Chris Daza and Nkhotakota Central Member of Parliament (MP) Edwin Banda. These three are, however, yet to present their nomination papers.
Kanjere confirmed in an interview on Saturday afternoon that he has presented nomination papers and said he agrees with those people who believe that MCP needs change of leadership if it is to survive on the political scene.
Kanjere said he believes MCP’s philosophy should shift from serving individual interests and should be able to contribute more to government rather than just be another party in the opposition in Parliament.
He also said he was confident that if he won the party’s presidency, he would guide it back in government in 2014.
Kanjere said Malawi needs to restructure its economy and control its imports to avoid the current heavy drainage of foreign exchange reserves on unnecessary things.
The 65-year-old technocrat, who was turned politician during the Kamuzu Banda era when he was appointed deputy minister of Works in 1989, has held various senior positions within MCP, including administrative secretary and director of political affairs.
During the transition from one party rule to multiparty democracy between 1992 and 1994 Kanjere served on the government side during the national consultative committee dialogue with then pressure groups which were pushing for change.
An architect by profession, Kanjere, who comes from Ntcheu District, holds a Master of Science in Construction Management and Economics as his highest qualification and he is also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Kanjere retired from active politics in 2005 and went into private practice, running his own architectural firm.