Some members in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have questioned the appointment of six members into the party’s national governing council (NGC), describing it as illegal and undemocratic.
The members say they suspect that the appointment is a deliberate move to frustrate other presidential candidates.
Among others, the appointed members are Member of Parliament (MP) Thoko Tembo [Southern Region deputy national director for protocol], MP Fyness Magonjwa [Eastern Region deputy national director for religious affairs], MP Francesca Masamba [Eastern Region deputy national director for social services] and MP Esther Majaza [Central Region deputy national director for social services].
The other appointees are legislator Daod Chikwanje [Central Eastern Region director of protocol] and Malawi Police Service former inspector general Peter Mukhito, who has been appointed to the position of Southern Region deputy national director of elections.
But, in an interview, DPP National Executive Committee (Nec) member Ken Msonda said the appointments were not made in good faith as provisions of the party’s constitution were violated.
Ideally, Msonda said, the mandate of the central committee ends at proposing names, with the NGC doing the approvals or disapprovals.
Msonda said DPP’s Nec has never met since 2018.
“They are appointing people in line with their preferred presidential candidate. We are very disappointed and the party should expect more court battles because this is an illegal, undemocratic, uncivilised and primitive way of [doing] politics,” Msonda said.
DPP Northern Region director of political affairs Baxter Kitta said appointing members to fill vacant positions was not wrong, but the only cause for concern was that the appointees had not been approved.
DPP director of operations Joe Nyirongo said calling for an early convention was the way to go.
DPP spokesperson Shadric Namalomba confirmed that the individuals had been appointed to the positions as there were over 30 positions that fell vacant.
However, Namalomba said the names were subject to approval by NGC as stipulated in the party’s constitution.
“People should not get worried. The central committee has just done what the constitution says. In our NGC meeting, the members will approve the names and that means the party is not siding with anyone,” Namalomba said.
But political analyst George Phiri said it was questionable that the appointments had been made a year before the DPP holds a convention.
“The current leadership seems not to know what it is doing and that has a negative impact on supporters of the party,” Phiri said.
On Sunday, DPP treasurer general Jappie Mhango said he had withdrawn from a case in which he and three other members of the party were contesting their removal from the party.