Some delegates to the forthcoming Malawi Congress Party (MCP) convention have told the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) that the proposal to amend the party’s constitution to allow for open terms on the party’s presidential post should only come after the convention.
The delegates from four political regions of the party say they have rejected the proposal to amend the clause, which limits the number of times a member can contest for the country’s presidency on the party’s ticket to two, saying its timing shows that it is aimed at benefiting MCP president John Tembo.
The delegates’ demands to defer the proposal until after the convention come at a time MCP on Thursday postponed the convention to a later date amid protests from some regional committees that the use of nomination papers for NEC positions’ aspirants and eight-point checklist developed to scrutinise the aspirants before the convention were illegal.
Apart from the Central region who rejected the open-term proposal at a consultative meeting held last Friday in Lilongwe, delegates of the party’s Lakeshore and Northern regions have also rejected the proposal.
Said MCP Lakeshore regional secretary Wellington Katsokwe Mwale: “All the districts in our region have rejected the proposal because they think it is designed to favour one person.”
He said they have communicated their position to the party’s NEC through administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya who has also been receiving nomination papers from aspirants for positions to be contested at the convention.
“If they proceed to present the proposal to amend the constitution at the convention, members have said that they will vote against it,” said Mwale.
In an interview on Friday, the party’s Mzuzu district chairperson Maxwell Chiona also said they have rejected the open-term proposal, saying MCP needs to follow its current constitution on the convention.
“We want the party to maintain the two term limit for presidential candidates so that other people are also given a chance to represent the party in national elections,” said Chiona while Southern region member a Mr. Londola refused to comment on the matter.
Chancellor College political analyst Dr. Henry Chingaipe on Friday said it is difficult to say whether the proposal would be endorsed at the convention.
“There is a serious conflict of interest given that the constitution bars him [Tembo] from contesting and he is left to direct the process on the changing of the constitution.
“You have to go to the convention with settled rules of the game and not spend a lot of time fighting over which rules to use to play the game. The convention committee should have rejected Tembo’s nomination papers because the constitution does not allow him to contest,” said Chingaipe.
In earlier interviews, both MCP spokesperson Jolly Kalelo and convention director Joseph Njobvuyalema said the party’s NEC will make a final decision on the proposal after getting reports from all its regions.