There is no Benghazi in Karonga, but unless People’s Party deputy secretary general Frank Mwenefumbo and Deputy Finance Minister Cornelius Mwalwanda stop their simmering spat soon, the district’s central constituency will continue being compared to the battlefield in Libya.
The infighting between the ruling party giants dates back to their maiden electoral face-off in 2009, but it reared its ugly head again when their supporters clashed during last month’s primary poll in which Mwenefumbo conceded defeat.
Mwenefumbo later called for a rerun which PP dismissed on Wednesday.
Speaking after the cancellation of the rerun initially slated for today (Saturday), Paramount Chief Kyungu said enough is enough to the scenes of violence in the area local residents call Benghazi due to the strife.
Reiterating the call for an issue-based campaign, the Ngonde supreme traditional leader said: “As a leader, I abhor any cases of politically orchestrated violence, be it in Karonga or any other part of the country. There is no battlefield in Karonga and Malawi is peaceful.
“I believe those involved are mature and they know what to do. Malawians need love, respect for each other, issue-based campaign and peace—not political violence.”
On Thursday, Mwenefumbo described the ill-fated rerun as “justice finally done” after his competitor allegedly used village heads to influence the results two weeks ago.
He said: “As such, I undertake to ensure that my supporters conduct themselves peacefully and avoid any confrontations throughout the process.”
On the other hand, Mwalwanda said he was not ready to take part in the proposed rerun because, according to him, it was just a ploy to impose Mwenefumbo on the people of Karonga Central.
But provincial governor Christopher Ngwira said Mwenefumbo had earlier accepted the loss.
Said Ngwira: “The party executive referred the matter to President Joyce Banda who assigned Kyungu to establish village heads’ involvement and make recommendations. As of Tuesday, the paramount chief had come to the [conclusion] that there was no need for a rerun and the party upheld the recommendation.”
Kyungu, however, denied involvement in settling the dispute.