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Lawyer grills Aford Secretary

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Alliance for Democracy (Aford) Secretary General, Christopher Ritchie, yesterday had a torrid morning in court responding to questions from lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa in a matter in which he and others want the party to hold a convention early next month.

Ritchie, Dan Msowoya, Owen Mumba and Ernest Kanyenda have taken the issue of the party’s convention back to court. One of the issues they are raising is that they want the court to order the party to hold a convention on April 7 2018.

The four are also contesting the inclusion of some people into the party’s National Executive Committee

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They also want the court to order that Revamp Aford Movement (Ramo) be accommodated as observers of what the organizing committee of the convention is doing.

They are also against the removal of Ritchie as chairperson of the organising committee of the convention.

Ritchie argued that most of the National Executive committee members are sympathisers of party president Enock Chihana.

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When Khonyongwa asked him if he used internal procedures to raise the concern, Ritchie said he did.

“I raised the issue in the meeting but it was not in writing. My concerns are not included in the minutes,” Ritchie said.

Khonyongwa further asked him why, as Secretary General, he endorsed the minutes, when he knew that some issues were omitted.

Ritchie insisted that there were a number of issues regarding the meeting that is why he was seeking the court’s intervention.

During cross-examination, Judge Charles Mkandawire, was forced to intervene after Ritchie said the documents Khonyongwa was demanding were there only that he did not bring them to court.

But Khonyongwa expressed scepticism over the authenticity of the minutes to be submitted to court asking the court “to move on and continue using the evidence that is already in court”.

But lawyer, Titus Mvalo, who is representing Ritchie and others, said the Aford Secretary General cannot lie in court.

“The witness is under oath. He is bound by the oath to say the truth,” Mvalo said.

Judge Mkandawire has since adjourned the case to Thursday, to allow Ritchie to bring to court the documents Khonyongwa initially demanded.

Aford is rocked in a leadership wrangle between the current president Enock Chihana and some of its members who want a convention to be held as soon as possible because the term of office for the current Nec expired.

The battle for leadership started when Member of Parliament for Karonga Central, Frank Mwenifumbo, declared his interest to challenge Chihana at the party elective conference.

Last year, Judge Mkandawire ordered the party’s Nec meet on December 27 to agree on when to hold the convention, after people supporting Mwenifumbo took to court the issue of the party’s failure to hold a convention.

Currently, chairperson of the organizing committee of the party’s convention is one of the party’s vice presidents, Tanilani Chipeta.

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