Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Central Region district governors on Friday rejected the proposal of their National Executive Committee (NEC) to amend the party’s constitution to allow a member to be president of the party for as many times as they wish as long as they are elected at a legitimate convention.
The proposed constitutional amendment at the party’s forthcoming convention was widely seen as aimed at accommodating the current MCP president and the country’s longest serving Member of Parliament John Tembo who is barred by the constitution to lead the party in next year’s election for the third time after losing in 2004 and 2009.
At the moment, the MCP constitution limits the president to contest only for two terms on the party’s ticket as a presidential candidate in national elections.
If not granted clearance to contest for the party’s presidency at the indaba, the rejection would mark the beginning of Tembo’s fall from frontline politics.
The district governors rejected the proposal at a consultative meeting held at the party’s Area 3 regional office in Lilongwe which was chaired by MCP regional chairperson Daniel Mlomo.
In an interview yesterday, MCP spokesperson Jolly Kalelo said he had heard about the governors’ position on the matter but said the party would wait for written minutes of the meeting and further consultations to determine the way forward on the proposal.
“I did not attend that meeting. I have also just heard about it but it’s unofficial. They are supposed to submit minutes of the meeting to the party,” said Kalelo.
MCP director of the convention Joseph Njobvuyalema also said he did not attend the meeting, adding that apart from Central Region, the party will also consider views from its members in the North and South to make a final decision on the matter.
“It’s change management where you sensitise people within the company to
express their views and after that it’s when the way forward will be known.
We can’t know the way forward before we get views from Blantyre and Mzuzu.
We are yet to get reports,” said Njobvuyalema.
However, three district governors who attended the Friday meeting said about 63 members from the party’s 12 political districts in the Centre and regional office attended the meeting.
“The main issue at the meeting was about the convention. NEC proposed that we should amend the clause that allows members to hold the party’s presidency twice only. We rejected the proposal because it’s coming from the top to the bottom. We feel that this should have come from the bottom and not the top.
“We also rejected the proposal because it’s mainly targeted to work in favour of one individual yet people in villages have been telling us that we need to change leadership of the party,” said one MCP district governor.
Apart from proposing open terms for the party’s presidency, the party’s NEC also proposed that aspiring office bearers in the party should only be individuals with a minimum five years membership, a move seen by some people as targeted at sidelining Malawi Assemblies of God president Dr Lazarus Chakwera, who has already submitted his nomination papers to vie for the party’s presidency.
MCP administrative secretary Potipher Chidaya last week said the proposed amendments are aimed at making MCP match with changing times.
“We are looking at the future. They are proposals which will either be confirmed or rejected by the convention,” said Chidaya.
Njobvuyalema, however, said Chakwera was free to submit his nomination forms if he believed he was eligible to contest for any position at the convention.
MCP secretary general Chris Daza has also declared interest to contest for the party’s top post.