The atmosphere, the decorations and the attire were virtually all orange at the College of Medicine sports complex in Malawiâ€™s commercial city, Blantyre, on Monday where the Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) held its first national convention.
Over 2 000 delegates from the party structures in all the districts of the country converged on a special marquee to elect the partyâ€™s leadership after President Joyce Bandaâ€™s keynote address and reports.
Banda, who later went unopposed in the polls, arrived about 10:30 am and was visibly overwhelmed by the presence of several opposition political party leaders who were given the prominence of sitting in the front row.
Immediately after the National Anthem was played, led by Joseph Temboâ€™s band, Banda accompanied by her husband filed to greet the political party and traditional leaders who included Inkosi ya MakosiÂ Mâ€™mbelwa IV and Paramount chief Malemia of Nsanje.
In separate interviews, the political leaders hailed the ruling party for holding a national convention which some described as a sign of intra-party and inter-party democracy.
In attendance were United Democratic Frontâ€™s leader Friday Jumbe who was accompanied by his deputy Sam Mpasu and national chairperson Joseph Kubwalo. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was represented by secretary general Wakuda Kamanga and governor for the South Noel Masangwi.
Also present were Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Dindi Gowa Nyasulu, the Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) leader Kamlepo Kalua, New Republican Party (NRP) president Gwanda Chakuamba and Peopleâ€™s Progressive Movement (PPM) leader Mark Katsonga.
Minister of Economic Planning and Development Atupele Muluzi and Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management Ibrahim Matola, who both belong to UDF, were also present and sat together with other ruling party ministers.
In an interview, Jumbe said the convention by PP has shown that democracy is being entrenched in political parties which he said should set as an example to other groupings.
Kamanga declined to grant journalists interviews but his partyâ€™s acting president Peter Mutharika had sent a message of best wishes to PPâ€™s leadership.
Afordâ€™s Nyasulu said: â€œItâ€™s very important to attend an important function like this one and there are many lessons to learn.â€
Katsonga said the PP convention should be a message to other political parties.
He said PPM has always respected constitutional provisions of seeking fresh mandate by holding conventions.
The day-long convention was also attended by dignitaries from Nigeria, Ghana, Germany, apart from PP wings from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States of America.