Malawi Congress Party (MCP) first vice-president Richard Msowoya, secretary general Gustave Kaliwo and three others have obtained a court order stopping the opposition party from either firing or suspending some national executive committee (NEC) members.
The court order, sought through private practice lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, means that the affected MCP members have retained their positions.
In an interview last evening, the lawyer said he also represented the outspoken publicity secretary Jessie Kabwila whom the MCP NEC dismissed from the party on Sunday for alleged misconduct. He said the court order also meant she retained her position.
The other two suspended members High Court judge Healey Potani temporarily rescued are replaced treasurer general Tony Kandiero (whose position was given to Rhino Chiphiko) and deputy SG Chatonda Kaunda.
Kaphale, who recently served as Attorney General, said among the charges the MCP proffered on Msowoya to justify the suspension included his alleged failure to promote party ideals and his conduct to recognise Kabwila as the party’s publicity secretary at rallies conducted in the Northern Region when he knew Kabwila was dismissed.
Kaliwo, among others and according to Kaphale, is accused by the party of scheming against it and forming parallel structures. He is also accused of showing disloyalty to the party, recognising Kabwila as publicity secretary and discussing with others how to disrupt the party.
Said Kaphale: “We have been given 14 days to file interpartes summons. But as it is, the affected five members have retained their positions until another court order.”
MCP NEC resolved on Sunday to suspend Msowoya, who is also Speaker of the National Assembly and Kaliwo pending disciplinary action for their alleged role in destabilising the party.
And on Tuesday this week, newly appointed MCP publicity secretary Ezekiel Ching’oma announced Kabwila’s dismissal and the suspension of the other members.
The NEC meeting at MCP National Headquarters in Lilongwe on Sunday was summoned by party president Lazarus Chakwera.
Agenda items included the appointment and endorsement of new administrative secretary only identified as Sulamoyo and acting on petitions to the NEC calling for Kaliwo’s ouster.
But after deliberations that lasted for over nine hours from 1pm, the well-attended NEC meeting—which both Msowoya and Kaliwo did not attend—resolved that the two were the destabiling factors in the party hierarchy.
Kaliwo and Msowoya alongside second vice-president Macdonald Lombola, Kaunda and Kandiero were signatories of a letter accusing Chakwera of flouting the constitution.
Under Article 14 of the MCP constitution, members can be suspended or dismissed under the following conditions: “. The National Executive Committee may discipline any member of the party if such member has committed a serious and persistent breach under the constitution. The procedure for such suspension or dismissal shall conform with the rules of natural justice.
“. Nothing in this section shall authorise the National Executive Committee to dismiss a member who was elected by the convention; . Any member who is suspended or dismissed shall have the right to appeal to the party convention…” n