Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says it will soon start the process of electing its first vice-president following the death of Mohammed Sidik Mia on January 12 this year.
The party’s constitution stipulates that vacant posi t ions should be filled within 90 days, but responding to The Nation’s question on why there has been a delay, MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali in an interview yesterday said Mia’s death was a blow to the party and it is still in sorrow.
He said: “The party will soon initiate the process of electing the first vice-president, the actual dates of which will be announced publicly.
“We are well aware of what the MCP constitution stipulates in regard to filling offices that have fallen vacant by whatever circumstance. We are equally mindful of the fact that any delays to comply with the 90-day provision to this effect may give rise to some degree of tension among our people.”
According to the party constitution, when a position falls vacant under any circumstances, it can be filled by a meeting of the central executive committee which i s guided by the President. Munthali said the party will follow all the right processes of filling the vacancy.
“We do not have any idea as to who are interested to compete in the race for the vacant position, suffice to say the party will lay down the procedures and eligibility criteria to guide the electoral exercise,” he said.
At the time of his death to Covid-19, Mia was serving as Minister of Transport and Public Works.
His death was announced barely hours after the Minister of Local Government Lingson Belekanyama, who was also member of Parliament (MP) for Lilongwe Msinja South (MCP), had succumbed to the same disease.
In recent weeks, social media has been awash with reports that both MCP insiders and outsiders, including Mia’s wife, Abida, and Minister of Mining Rashid Gaffar, are positioning themselves for the vacant party seat.
When contacted yesterday, Gaffar declined to comment while Mia, who is Chikwawa Nkombezi MP (MCP) and Deputy Minister of Lands, distanced herself from the matter.
Following the death of Mia and Belekanyama, Chakwera declared three days of national mourning and proclaimed a State of National Disaster to help trigger resource mobilisation.
Meanwhile, University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political science lecturer Ernest Thindwa has urged MCP to abide by its constitution in filling the vacancy.
He said: “Continued disrespect of party constitution creates uncertainty in party politics which tend to not only weaken the party but also shapes attitudes of the political elite, party functionaries and citizens at large towards the national Constitution.”
Chakwera picked Mia as his running mate in the run up to the May 2019 disputed polls, dropping former speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya, whom he had partnered in the 2014 polls.