The infighting in the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the major opposition block in the country, took a dramatic twist yesterday when the party’s Central Region branches paraded what it termed genuine grassroots structures, which defended the party’s president Lazarus Chakwera, and rejected calls for his resignation or an emergency convention.
Mid-week, some disgruntled members of the party, among them ex-district and regional committee leaders who lost recent elections, called upon Chakwera to resign or call for a convention. They accused him of mismanaging affairs of the party, including breaking its constitution.
The anti-Chakwera faction—led by Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma, a former close aide of Chakwera who fell out with the party leader just after the 2014 elections—also accused him of appointing officials into the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) without the backing of the law.
But at the party’s regional headquarters yesterday, constituency and area committee officials from the Central Region, led by regional committee counterparts, dismissed Chidzanja-Nkhoma’s allegations as a ploy by some power-hungry officials fighting for Chakwera’s downfall.
Lilongwe South West Constituency chairperson Hardwell Kachibekete said the move by the party grassroots was designed to indicate a show of unity in the party.
“Those who claim to demand a convention have been sent to destabilise the party, but they will not succeed. We have listened well to their arguments and lies and we would like to tell the nation that MCP is intact and not divided, we are all loyal to Chakwera and we will not be holding any convention until his period expires,” said Kachibekete.
Another official, Lilongwe City South chairperson, Peter Ziusa, said the party’s constitution does not allow conventions without any reason, hence the party’s supporters are dismayed by the calls.
But Chidzanja-Nkhoma said the party was busy making intimidatory moves instead of seeking amicable solutions to challenges rocking it.
“Ask them what position I had in the party when I was helping Chakwera to get that position. When I was helping Chakwera, was I also getting money from DPP? Some of us are born and bred members of MCP. Some of the people in MCP speaking are not elected. Let us not personalise this issue, let them do their homework before uttering such nonsense.
“They are saying I am looking for the administration secretary position, that is nonsense, again. The storm has been blowing for some time. This is the time MCP is looking childish in the public eye. This is why we think the convention is the right platform to solve this,” said Chidzanja-Nkhoma.
The warring factions are at it again despite legal battles currently in court over the calls for a convention. n