Out of the blues, People’s Party Acting president Uladi Mussa has launched an unexpected leadership challenge on the party’s leader Joyce Banda, declaring presidential aspirations in 2019 arguing Banda’s tenure has expired.
The move comes just 24 hours before People’s Party is due to hold an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting
But, PP’s NEC has laughed off Mussa’s assertions.
PP spokesperson Noel Chimpeni said if Mussa’s declaration was true, then Mussa’s tenure too has expired hence he does have legitimate claim to leadership—Mussa was appointed by JB.
Banda is currently in self-imposed exile and consequently on periphery of national politics—living outside the country since the 2014 elections that removed her and the People’s Party from power.
Mussa has Nation Online that the party’s rank and file is tired of waiting for Banda’s return home.
“As far as our constitution is concerned the tenure of office for our president Dr Joyce Banda expired. It expired on 28th of August. This being the case, we now have a constitutional crisis. That being the case I would like to declare my aspiration to become president of this party.”
Quizzed on whether Banda should still be recognised as president of People’s Party, Mussa said he still respects Banda as founder of the party but said “constitutionally, she was former president.”
“She has just been saying I am coming, but time is running out. 2019 is not too far, we need planning. We need to identify candidates for the party. Her mandate has now expired. We need to start preparing,” he said while dismissing fears his move would destabilise the party.
But the party’s spokesperson dismissed Mussa’s move as unnecessary, saying the party’s leadership fate will be decided later at the party’s convention.
“He says there is a constitutional crisis in PP and Dr Joyce Banda’s mandate is over. Ask him, whom made him a leader? As far as the party is concerned, Dr Joyce Banda is still the president. If he wants the presidency he should wait for the right time,” Chimpeni said.
The development will increase the stakes ahead of the party’s NEC meeting on Friday, but Chimpeni said leadership of the party was not on the agenda.