An extraordinary national executive committee (NEC) meeting of former ruling People’s Party (PP) has suspended the party’s acting president Uladi Mussa.
The suspension effectively relieves the firebrand politician off his duties as acting PP leader.
The decision comes barely 24 hours after Mussa declared that he was taking over the presidency of the party from former State president Joyce Banda, arguing that Banda’s tenure had expired.
Banda, who left the country in 2014, has been in self-imposed exile since.
Mussa, however, in a reaction to yesterday’s decision by the party’s highest decision-making body, immediately dismissed the decision to suspend him as illegal, saying only him—in his capacity as interim president— could call for such a meeting.
As we went to press, the PP NEC meeting was still in progress, but Mussa’s fate had been confirmed.
The party’s spokesperson Noel Chimpeni said Mussa would be summoned for a disciplinary hearing.
“We have resolved that his actions are a breach of party protocol and discipline. We have agreed, after long deliberations through a unanimous decision, to suspend him as acting president.
However, the PP spokesperson said Mussa will continue serving as PP vice-president for Central Region.
“We will also call him for a disciplinary action within 10 days. We invited him to this meeting but he refused to come. We also phoned him while the meeting was in progress to come but he also said he could not come,” said Chimpeni.
He also said the NEC agreed that all powers of the presidency will revert to former president Banda, with Mussa’s absence being covered by two other vice-presidents.
But in an interview, Mussa dismissed the meeting as illegal, saying only he, as interim leader, is mandated to call for such a meeting.
“They cannot suspend me because there was no NEC meeting. No one who convened the meeting has a right to convene such a meeting. It’s illegal. How many people were there? NEC has over 80 people and you cannot just invite a few people and say we have held a NEC meeting and we have suspended so and so,” said Mussa.
At the meeting, attended by 30 members of the NEC, the party’s two vice-presidents for North and South, Kamlepo Kalua and Ralph Jooma respectively and some of the party’s lawmakers, Mussa was a notable and conspicuous absence.
Chancellor College-based political scientist, Ernest Thindwa, on Thursday said the events in PP were unsurprising due to the “leadership vacuum” that has existed in it since Banda left the country.