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Expert warns opposition parties on divisions

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University of Malawi (Unima) political scientist Joseph Chunga has cautioned opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the People’s Party (PP) against intra-party divisions, arguing failure to address them within the shortest possible time may eventually prove to be terribly detrimental.

Chunga was responding to a question on what he makes of recent disputes within PP and rumourmongering in MCP where some members allegedly spread news that its Salima Central MP Felix Jumbe had defected to governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

In an earlier interview with The Daily Times, Jumbe said news of his alleged defection was being mongered by some members of his own party who he claimed still looked at him more as a competitor than a co-worker.

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In an interview yesterday, Chunga said much as party politics will never be void of conflicts, it is how MCP and PP resolve their intra-party differences that will map a clear way forward on whether they remain strong or not. He said of MCP:

“I cannot say that the party is on the brink of breaking down because of some differences within it, but what is important now is that they should exercise caution on how they deal with them.” The political science lecturer reiterated that in the process of providing checks and balances on government programmes, the opposition must first put its own house in order.

“The conflicts in PP are inevitable because of the top leadership issues that are there. They need to resolve them as quickly as is possible. What its president Dr Joyce Banda is doing to the party is not fair. “She has been away for a long time and the party is lacking decisive leadership.

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If she is no longer willing to take it forward, it is important she declares her position so that another leader is elected at a convention,” said Chunga.

He warned that PP risks collapse if it does not solve its leadership crisis any time soon as “there is no political party in the world which can survive with such a lengthy power vacuum.”

Among others , Banda’s absence on the local scene—which has now exceeded a year— apparently compelled the party’s Northern Region team to endorse its vicepresident Khumbo Kachali as interim leader.

In MCP, the ‘demotion’ of Jumbe and the party’s Lilongwe Mapuyu South lawmaker Joseph Njobvuyalema which was effected when Lazarus Chakwera made changes to the party’s National Governing Council (NGC), was seen by observers as deliberate moves to frustrate them.

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