Crisis in Alliance for Democracy
Battle lines have been drawn in the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) between party president Enoch Chihana and the Revamp Aford Movement (Ramo) over the scheduled party’s elective national convention.
Chihana wants the convention moved to April next year and has been busy campaigning quietly to achieve that. While, Ramo, wants the conference to take place on December 16, as scheduled.
Member of Parliament for Karonga Central Constituency Frank Mwenifumbo is set to challenge Chihana for the top seat.
Chihana, flanked by some District Chairpersons, announced suspension of the indaba until sometime in April next year.
The annoucements follows reports that Chihana has in the last two weeks been holding secret meetings with some party officials at his Sector 5 residence at area 47 in Lilongwe in the absence of other members of the National Executive Committee (Nec) where the matter the indaba topped the agenda.
A resolution was also made to dissolve the Ramo, the party’s affiliate which has been pushing for the convention and also spearheading the revamp initiative on grounds that it is threatening stability of the party.
“The decision to hold a convention was done in haste, need I say that I procedurally accepted Ramo as an affiliate of the party. Things have backfired now that they have turned into an adversary. I apologised to my party leaders after all Ramo never made an official application to be part of us,” Chihana said.
He said that Ramo has, with immediate effect, been barred from using the party’s name, colours, emblems and other related materials.
Chihana justified the postponement saying that he would like to lead the party in a massive restructuring process across the country which will cost not less than K5 million.
But one of the Central Region committee members who attended the alleged secret meetings said on condition of anonymity on Wednesday that Chihana has also dissolved the convention committee which was set up few months ago.
She further accused Chihana of nepotism and disclosed of the firing of Regional Chairperson for the Central Region Nicholas Kamoto who has since been replaced by Katsekela Chambwe and his challenger Mwenifumbo.
“Chihana is not certain of a win at the convention because he has overtime been running the party as a household item, he engineered the meetings and the resolutions single handedly which is against the democratic tenets that Aford preaches,” she said.
The source disclosed that Chihana has also fired some members of the Nec including General Secretary Christopher Ritchi who did not attend the Monday briefing.
Also conspicuously missing at the presser were Vice Presidents Martha Chiume, Mwenifumbo and Regional Chairperson for the North Peter Mkandawire.
When contacted Ritchi said he was only tipped by someone about the press briefing and further distanced himself from the Lilongwe meetings.
“I followed up with my president and he said he forgot to tell me, but before these convention matters he was telling me everything including meetings which I would help in organising. The last Nec meeting I was not told,” Ritchi said.
But Chihana denied sidelining Ritchi but however hinted that according to the party’s constitution any member who fails to attend Nec meetings for three consecutive times automatically seizes to be a Nec member.
Reacting to the developments, acting chairperson of the Ramo Owen Mumba wondered where Chihana has been ferrying the people to his meetings from if he claims that the party has no proper grassroots structures.
“It’s a lie, the people are there only that he is running out of time to operationalise his rigging tactics. But as Ramo we are geared to hold this convention,” said Mumba who accused Chihana of sabotaging the revamp process since it commenced.
And one of the chairpersons from Karonga Petros Mtonga rubbished the petition read to the media during the presser alleging Chihana authored it single handedly
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