Malawi’s main opposition party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), continues to be rocked by internal squabbles, with the party’s member of Parliament (MP) for Salima Central Felix Jumbe claiming there are plans to terminate his life.
On Monday, Jumbe is reported to have rushed to National Police Headquarters at Area 30 in Lilongwe, to seek protection after people,
whom he believes were sent by some MCP gurus, attempted to besiege his residence and set his vehicles on fire.
But reacting to the claims, MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka described Jumbe’s assassination claims as unfortunate “coming from a senior party member”.
The incident came hours after police arrested seven men and three women suspected to have been on a mission to petrol bomb the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe. Mkaka in an interview with The Nation on Monday regretted that two senior party officials and three other members instigated the recourse to violence. But Jumbe said that t on Tuesday about 10 men using a minibus without a registration number, wanted to besiege his house at around 8pm before he sneaked out to police.
He said: “I got a pointer that some people who were using a minibus without number plates were planning to attack me and set my vehicles on fire, so I sought protection at the national police headquarters. “The police provided me with the required protection, including for my property, particularly the vehicles which were targeted for burning.”
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa confirmed that Jumbe sought protection at Area 30 at around 9pm. He confirmed that the police were providing him protection following his claims, and investigations have since been launched into the matter.
This is the third time in a series of events that Jumbe has been caught in a crossfire with his party during the past month. Last month, he was almost chased from a rally conducted by his party president Lazarus Chakwera at Thavite in Salima. This was followed by another incident where he was openly insulted by some party members during another rally in Nkhotakota. Jumbe said he is failing to understand what the people want from him “after doing whatever they wanted to him.”
He said: “I don’t exactly know what they are looking for from me because they have done everything negative to me. I have been a subject of demotions, but they are still after me. I am a true MCP member and will remain MCP. They have constructed all sorts of negatives against me to [make me] appear as if I am DPP.”
But Mkaka said MCP does not believe in politics of retribution and there was no reason to take on somebody for holding different views. He said: “If he knows that the people [who are after him] are MCP, the best we would recommend as a party is that he must report to police for them to take action because the claim that people are making an attempt on his life is serious. “MCP believes in the sanctity of life and if there is somebody holding a different view from what we hold, there is no reason for us to hate them or terminate their lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday gave bail to 10 people arrested on Monday for being suspected of attempting to petrol bomb the MCP national headquarters. Gondwa said “there was more to this than meets the eye” and that there is need for further intense investigations.
“According to our preliminary investigations, the suspects have their own issues which we need to get down to their foundation before we can probably take them to court,” he said.
The party has been embroiled in internal conflicts for some months, with some district and regional leaders calling for the leadership to call for a convention. The disgruntled leaders claim there are serious irregularities in the manner their president is running the affairs of the party and implementing their constitution.