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More trouble for Lazarus Chakwera

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At a time when dust seemed to have finally started settling in opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), four regional chairpersons have accused the party’s president Lazarus Chakwera of raping its constitution and losing direction in managing the party’s affairs.

But MCP Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alekeni Menyani, has since trashed the accusations, arguing that the chairpersons have no mandate whatsoever to speak as they hold the positions illegally.

According to Menyani, the chairpersons seem to have developed some cold feet since the party called for elections to have them renew their mandate.

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In a letter dated January 9, 2016, the regional leaders, among other things, say they are concerned with the silence from Chakwera after the party’s Administrative Secretary, Potipher Chidaya, and other party officials were beaten up in Blantyre.

The group also accuses Chakwera of nepotism, claiming that the majority of positions in the party are held by people from Lilongwe, where Chakwera also comes from.

“Does this imply that this party is now only for Lilongwe? Imagine that the second Deputy Secretary General is from Lilongwe, Administrative Secretary from Lilongwe, Treasurer General from Lilongwe, Deputy Treasurer General from Lilongwe, Director of Elections from Lilongwe, [Louis] Chakwantha Director of Youth Lilongwe, Manjankhosi Director of women, Nkhombe, Honourable Belekanyama, Honourable Ching’oma, Honourable Dzoole-Mwale and Honourable Chimango Legal Affairs to mention a few,” reads the letter signed by Baza Kaunda, Abi Jana, Bauleni Mkweza and Stowell Gondwe.

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The four are chairpersons North-South, East, Lakeshore and North-North regions, in that order.

The chairpersons also blame Chakwera for apparently giving more powers to members of Parliament (MPs) and not respecting constituency, district and regional committees.

The disgruntled chairpersons have since challenged Chakwera not to conduct meetings or elections until a convention is held.

However, Menyani rubbished the claims, saying the chairpersons are abusing Chakwera’s openness by making unsubstantiated allegations, adding that what they are doing is a sign of disrespect.

Menyani said: “The claims of nepotism are misplaced; most powerful positions are held by people from across the country, the vice-president is from Karonga, second vice-president Lombola is from the South, the Secretary General is from Zomba, Publicity Secretary is from Salima and I am from Dedza. These chairpersons have no mandate to call for elections or stop the president from working,

“The president’s office is open so is mine. These people were free to come forward and state their case but they are afraid of going through elections that is why they have resorted to start writing letters just to block the process.”

He added that the last elections for regional chairpersons were held in 1992 for a three-year term, meaning their mandate was supposed to end in 1995.

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