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Jessie Kabwila sets terms for disciplinary hearing

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The suspended Malawi Congress Party (MCP) publicity secretary, Jessie Kabwila, has said the party must meet some conditions for her to appear before the parties’ disciplinary committee.

Over two months after her suspension, Kabwila is yet to meet the committee and explained her side of the story on the allegations leveled against her.

The MCP President Lazarus Chakwera announced on September 1 this year that Kabwila, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Salima West and Lilongwe Mapuyu South legislator, Joseph Njobvuyalema, had been suspended for allegedly plotting with others to “take over” and or destroy the party’s headquarters.

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In an interview on Monday, Kabwila said the letter from the party must clearly stipulate the charges that she is facing and where the hearing will take place.

She said she is not comfortable to meet the committee at the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe as it has become a non-safe space to some people including lawyers.

“I would need to see that the venue they are stating is neutral. I also would want to know who I will be appearing before because I want this to be done fairly, following rules of natural justice. I do not want a situation where I appear before a hearing and the next thing I hear is ‘oh Jessie has apologised’ because I have nothing to apologise. I also would like to know under what mandate they are going to invite me,” Kabwila said.

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She said when the announcement of her suspension was given, Chakwera made it clear that the party would deal with the issue within 30 days and now that 30 days have elapsed she wants to know under what mandate they are calling her now.

“Finally, I think it is very important that if the charge they are bringing, for example I think the one that they cited on radio that I am suspected of arson, I am suspected of having sent people or may be doing it myself to burn the headquarters, I am sure they will be able to produce a police report or some kind of research that they have done. Because I think from there it was very clear that police were involved. I am sure there is a police report that we can operate from,” she said.

Kabwila said as long as conditions are clear, she has no problems to appear before the committee.

MCP Second Deputy Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka, said while Njobvuyalema already appeared before the committee, Kabwila’s official duty schedule couldn’t permit her appearance.

Kabwila asked the party to reschedule the appearance as she had other engagements in Zimbabwe, a request which the party granted.

Another person who was summoned and is yet to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee is First Deputy Secretary General, James Chatonda Kaunda who also excused himself as he was in Brazil on the day of the appearance.

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