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Court declares Aford conventions invalid

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

The High Court in Lilongwe has said Alliance for Democracy (Aford) parallel conventions that were held in May this year are invalid.

The party had initially planned to hold a convention on May 1 at Don Bosco Youth Centre but failed due to disagreements over delegates.

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One camp elected Frank Mwenefumbo as president at a convention some members of the party held in Area 49 on the night of May 1 while another camp elected Enock Chihana as president at a convention held on May 2 at Don Bosco.

In a ruling delivered Friday, Judge Charles Mkandawire told the party to go back to the drawing board and reconvene another convention.

“The national conference of 1st May was suspended sine die, it was marred by problems. The alleged convention which elected Mwenefumbo president cannot be said to be valid. The one which elected Chihana is also not valid. In a nutshell, both of them can be referred to as mock conventions,” Mkandawire said.

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He added: “It is incumbent upon Aford to go back to the drawing board and reconvene another convention.”

Before making a decision on the issue, the judge, however, emphasised to both parties that what they brought to the court was a political matter which required political solutions.

In his ruling, Mkandawire faulted the conduct of Chihana, who is the party’s president, and that of Secretary General Christopher Ritchie prior to the two conventions.

“The conduct of the Secretary General leaves a lot to be desired. How could he preside over elections, yet he was also contesting? With regard to the issue of [people who elected] Chihana, the issue of accreditation had not been resolved. It was incumbent upon these people to reach a compromise. The conduct of Chihana too leaves a lot to be desired,” Mkandawire said.

Aford Publicity Secretary Khumbo Mwaungulu has since said the party will map the way forward after the ruling.

“According to the ruling, the leadership is going to sit down to map the way forward. Our president Mr Enock Chihana will call a National Executive Committee meeting to make a decision on when we will hold a convention,” Mwaungulu said.

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