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Malawi Congress Party leaders take on Gustave Kaliwo

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) chairmen from the party’s six political regions yesterday took turns in criticising the party’s Secretary General, Gustave Kaliwo, following his announcement of an emergency convention.

The officials said what Kaliwo has done in calling for an emergency convention, which he said will be conducted in July this year, confirms the doubts they have had over his loyalty to the party.

During a press briefing held at MCP headquarters in Lilongwe, the chairmen said according to the party’s constitution, powers to call for a convention are vested in the party’s National Executive Committee (Nec).

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“A demand for an emergency convention goes to the National Executive Committee and not to the Secretary General. Honourable Kaliwo has not attended two consecutive Nec meetings. It is, therefore, surprising that a person who has not been attending Nec meetings has announced the holding of an emergency convention. A person who can do this is a confusionist,” said Eastern Region Chairman, Harry Mchilima.

The chairmen have since asked the party’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, to quickly act on Kaliwo.

“We would like to ask our president to do something. This man was not elected during our convention [in 2013]. He was appointed after the then Secretary General, Chris Daza, defected to another political party. He must not destroy our party,” Mchilima said.

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Other regional chairmen present during the briefing were Patrick Chilondola (Centre), Peter Simbi (South) and Augustine Chidzanja (Lakeshore).

Watipaso Walusako and Gracian Soko, who are Vice regional chairpersons for North-North and North-South, respectively, were also part of the meeting.

Chidzanja said it is not surprising that Kaliwo has announced the holding of the convention, as in the past he did not defend MCP in a case where the party was taken to court on the same convention issue.

“He did not assist us. When the case was in court, he did not go to court and the court made a default judgement that a convention should be conducted. Under the guidance of our president [Lazarus Chakwera], we found another lawyer who defended the case and we eventually won,” Chidzanja said.

Simbi said the party will announce the date of the convention at a right time, stressing that “those announcing dates for convention are wasting their time”.

Also present at the press conference were veteran politicians Hilda Manjamkhonsi and Daniel Mlomo who spoke against the people who, they said, are creating divisions in the party.

Kaliwo could not be reached on his mobile phone for his reaction to the issues raised by the chairmen.

However, when announcing the convention, he said the party’s constitution gives him powers to call for a convention with the approval from more than half of the district committees.

Incidentally, the people who petitioned him are the ones who dragged the party to court following its failure to resolve the issues internally. And after elections were held in their districts, most of them lost.

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