- Distances himself from the party
- Kaliwo’s letter childish—Msowoya
Former People’s Party (PP) vice-president Muhammad Sidik Mia has been named in the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) wrangle, with the party’s Secretary General Gustave Kaliwo wondering what relationship the party has with him.
In a letter to MCP President Lazarus Chakwera, Kaliwo said the relationship between Mia and the party was “causing confusion” and described it as “the worst kept secret”.
“You are aware that there are party officials that are working with Hon Sidik Mia. There is talk of parallel structures being established in readiness for his coming to the party.
“I have no problem whatsoever welcoming Hon Sidik Mia and working with him in the party. He just needs to join openly and work with us openly. The current working relationship with him is causing confusion and leaving people wondering as to who is fooling who?” he said.
Kaliwo’s mention of Mia gives credence to speculations within the MCP’s rank and file that the confusion in the party was about Chakwera’s potential running mate choice in the 2019 presidential elections as one camp prefers Richard Msowoya—the current vice-president of the party—and the other group leaning towards Mia.
One MCP member told The Nation that the party has had infighting for the position of running mate between Msowoya and Mia, which has been the source of division in the National Executive Committee (NEC).
“DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] capitalised on this and used the people who failed at regional level and those that thought Chakwera will pick them for NEC positions. But I feel Kaliwo’s suggestion to have the convention now may weaken the party [as] there is no basis to conduct an emergency convention because of very few people,” said the party loyalist.
But DPP secretary general Ecklen Kudontoni said in an interview yesterday it was unfair for MCP to drag his party into its internal squabbles, saying the main opposition party was paying the price of removing the old guard.
He said: “It is a problem of their own making. If anything, DPP will only benefit from the [MCP] in-fighting in 2019. We are not the ones who dragged the party to court.”
In a telephone interview on Thursday Mia denied having any close relationship with MCP, saying he has not yet joined active politics. But he did not rule out the possibility of returning to the political arena.
“I am relaxing at home, I have not yet made up my mind of going back into politics, although I am talking to several people on this issue,” he said.
On his part, Msowoya said there was no way there could be running mate camps of him and Mia because Mia was not a member of MCP.
“[When] he joins the party, we can meet at the convention, even then, it will be the president who will choose his running mate,” he said.
Msowoya described Kaliwo’s letter as “childish” as he had the opportunity to address all concerns raised in the letter at the NEC meeting.
“Decisions in MCP are not made by one person. Kaliwo in his letter wants to portray that it was Chakwera making all the decisions. In MCP it is the NEC that makes decisions,” he said.
“The whole thing is very childish, I am so disappointed,” Msowoya said of Kaliwo’s letter.
In the letter, Kaliwo also said Chakwera was either a coward or a victim of a hostage situation on the day he failed to meet Kaliwo.
“If the security person was overzealous and acted without instructions from you, then you were being held hostage or had no control over who had access to your office. If you gave the instructions that I should not see you, then that was cowardly.
“It demonstrates as I have stated above that you are the one being held hostage. Your captors were intent not in preventing me from seeing you, but preventing you as their hostage, from receiving me as your guest. Mr President, has your situation become that desperate? What ransom do your captors require for us to obtain your liberty?” he wrote.
Kaliwo complained about the action of Chakwera’s security personnel that denied him access to meet the MCP leader on September 7 2016, saying he found their conduct to be not only rude, but demeaning as well.
“As secretary general and a secretary to the meeting, I have, as a matter of normal practice, consulted you as chair of the meeting on how the meeting should be conducted. This is the reason that I intended to come and see you, just before going to the NEC meeting. On all previous occasions I have had access to you without hindrance.
“Sadly, on this day your security person Phakamisa, who was in the company of about four MCP youths, told me that I was not allowed to come into your office and see you. He told me to leave [your] office and go straight to the NEC meeting. From the way he spoke to me, it was abundantly clear that he was under instructions to do so,” read part of Kaliwo’s letter.