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Gustave Kaliwo pens Lazarus Chakwera

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General, Gustave Kaliwo, has challenged party President, Lazarus Chakwera, to work on making the party strong so that it responds to concerns Malawi is facing at the moment.

In a nine-paged letter, dated September 13, 2016 addressed to Chakwera, Kaliwo says it is worrisome that the party is involved in unending wrangles instead of being involved in rebuilding and rebranding. He has also supported calls for a convention.

Kaliwo confirmed writing a letter to Chakwera but did not give details.

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“I am aware that there are those that will say that by writing to you in this fashion I am just playing into the hands of our detractors and joining the bandwagon of those that have openly criticised your leadership style. I will quickly be categorised as a rebel, anti-Chakwera, kapilikoni or nkholokolo,” reads the letter.

It continues: “Sadly, there comes a time when what needs to be said must be said, regardless of the consequences, and to me this is one such time. I, therefore, do not care what my critics will say as I have only my conscience and my God to answer to.”

In the letter, Kaliwo has said recent decisions in the party’s National Executive Committee (Nec) have demonstrated that there is no intra-party democracy.

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He questions decisions that were made at the party’s Nec meeting of August 31, 2016. He faults the expulsion of Salima Central MP, Felix Jumbe, from the party, and suspensions of Salima North West MP Jessie Kabwila and Lilongwe Mapuyu South legislator, Joseph Njobvuyalema.

“Can the MCP afford to lose sitting MPs years before the next election? Is the party happy to let these MPs to be free agents that can be courted by other parties? The present decision, if not corrected, would mean ‘donating’ three MPs to the forces that we as a party should be fighting. This further weakens our position in Parliament,” reads the letter.

It adds: “Somehow we are losing some of the best people among us. These challenges, Mr. President, are your opportunities not only to rebrand the party, but to present yourself as a leader with a difference, and hope for our country. You do not want to be associated with any traits of excesses of the past.”

Kaliwo has also spoken against the suspension of first Deputy Secretary General, James Chatonda Kaunda.

“Mr. President the current situation may appear desperate and indeed to some beyond rescue. I am, however, confident that if you do the right thing, we can come out of the present situation stronger. For reasons cited above, I am of the considered view that the recent Nec decisions are wrong and untenable at law. The same should be reversed,” reads the letter.

In the letter, Kaliwo also urges Chakwera to urgently call for a Nec meeting comprising members that held positions prior to August 27, 2015, to ratify the expansion and filling in of positions as stated in August 27, 2015 communique.

He also says Chakwera should reverse or call for a properly constituted Nec to reverse “the illegal dismissals and suspensions” from the party.

“You identify ways of getting the entire membership of MCP to own decisions that have recently been made. Calling for a convention now may not, in my view, be a sign of weakness but rather a show of strength and democratic accountability,” reads the letter.

In an interview yesterday, MCP Administrative Secretary, Potiphar Chidaya, said he could only comment better after seeing Kaliwo’s letter.

He, however, said there was nothing wrong in disciplining some of their members.

“I have not seen the letter you are talking about. However, you should know that MCP believes in four cornerstones. Discipline is one of them. If you can remember, at one time [former secretary general Chris] Daza was at one point suspended. The same was true with his deputy Beston Majoni. Suspensions are one way of fostering discipline in the party,” Chidaya said.

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