Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has been faulted for failing to abide by its constitution in filling the vacant positions of its vice-president and director of research, respectively.
The two positions fell vacant following the deaths of Mohammed Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekanyama on January 12 this year who both succumbed to Covid-19 complications.
At the time of his death, Mia, who was the party’s vice-president was serving as minister of Transport and Public Works while Belekanyama, who was the party’s director of research, was serving as minister of Local Government.
Article 36 of the party’s constitution stipulates that a vacancy shall be filled within a 90-day period from the time it has been created through an emergency convention.
However, seven months have elapsed with no replacements of the two, so far.
“If there is a simultaneous vacancy or incapacitation in the offices of the party president and deputy presidents, the secretary general shall perform the interim duties of the president and deputy presidents until a party convention is held.
“The National Executive Committee shall, in the instance of the above, call for an emergency convention within 90 days to elect a president and deputy presidents,” reads in part Article 36 of MCP constitution.
In an interview, University of Malawi’s political science lecturer Ernest Thindwa said failure to fill the vacancies as dictated by the party’s constitution reveals weak institutionalisation.
He said: “There tends to be too much weak informality in the governance of our political parties rendering the whole party machinery to be at the mercy of the strongman/woman in the party who usually is the party president.”
When contacted, MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali said while the party is knowledgeable of its constitution, it is also exploring the best ways to fill the positions.
“The office of the MCP secretary general is currently looking at having this constitutional exercise implemented without any further delays while considering the process by which to do so,” he said.
Munthali further appealed for calm among followers of the party since something is being done on the matter.