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People’s Party rules out convention to fill Nec gaps

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The immediate former governing People’s Party (PP) has said it will not be compelled to hold a convention to fill the noticeable gaps in its National Executive Committee (Nec) anytime before 2017.

Recently, the party has seen some of the top and crucial positions vacated, filled with people who were not given the mandate during the convention and in some cases, people who were democratically elected are no longer active.

But the party’s spokesperson, Ken Msonda, said constitutionally the party will go for a convention in 2017. He said the party’s politburo has the mandate to appoint people to fill positions in acting capacity pending Nec’s confirmation.

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During the convention the party held at College of Medicine Complex in Blantyre in 2012, delegates elected Khumbo Kachali, Sidik Mia and Cassim Chilumpha as vice presidents responsible for the Northern, Southern and Central provinces respectively.

However, all of them are no longer holding such positions.

Harry Mkandawire, who replaced Kachali, also resigned, citing the prolonged absence of party leader Joyce Banda as one of the reasons. The position is yet to be filled.

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Another seasoned politician, Brown Mpinganjira, who held the Southern Province vice presidency after Mia’s resignation, also resigned from both the position and the party.

Chilumpha also resigned and moved out of the party, leaving Uladi Mussa as the only PP vice president this far.

Another official, Henry Chibwana, who the delegates elected as their secretary general, also resigned and Paul Maulidi, who failed during the convention, was handpicked to take up the position.

Maulidi was thereafter fired after he had insisted on standing in the 2014 elections in Blantyre North constituency and the party leadership replaced him with the incumbent Secretary General, Ibrahim Matola.

Hophmally Makande was elected as Publicity Secretary but fell out of grace after he had decided to contest as an independent candidate in Mangochi Monkey Bay Constituency whose Member of Parliament (MP) was PP member Ralph Jooma.

Msonda, who was Deputy Publicity Secretary, is now holding Makande’s position.

George Zulu, who was elected Deputy Secretary General, also ditched the party and rejoined the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Raphael Kasambara, who is also no longer in good terms with the PP, was elected National Director of Legal Affairs while Henry Phoya, who has been out of active politics since last year, was elected First Deputy National Legal Director.

With the moving out of Maulidi, who occupied the position of Second National Legal Deputy Director, it meant Chipiliro Mpinganjira, who was voted the Third Deputy National Legal Director, was the only person remaining in the party’s legal team. But he too moved out as he is a civil servant

Director of Resource Mobilisation, Osward Lutepo, is now serving an 11-year jail term following his conviction on Cashgate charges.

Steve Mwenye, who was Director of Social Affairs and Etinnor Koloviko, who held Deputy Director of Women position also moved out of the party.

Director of Administration in the party, Peter Kaleso, was suspended last month and Msonda is holding the position in an acting capacity.

“It is not that we have to wait until we hold the convention. If there are any positions which are vacant due to other reasons, the politburo of the party, as per the constitution, is mandated to fill those positions and that’s what is happening. Nobody will force us to call for a convention.

“Even in organisations, companies, NGOs it is the same. The positions have to be filled immediately. It is not surprising why people are focusing on us. This is a party to reckon with. It is a party that Malawians want to go back in government and take over from the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party],” Msonda said.

But Chancellor College political comment a tor Ernest Thindwa said what is happening in the PP indicates that it is not a mass party, which is typical of all parties in the country where the agenda is not driven by people.

“It is a party whose agenda is driven by the elite and what happens within that party is driven by the interests of those elite. Rarely are the people who are put in positions through the conventions given a chance to be part of decision-making in the parties. Power is concentrated in few people.

“If it was a mass party you would expect elections for Nec members. But what happens is that the powerful in that party tend to fill such positions with people who are loyal to the leader of that party,” Thindwa said.

He said the behaviour reduces the party’s appeal as the people that are wanted to guide the party are not the ones in charge which results into some people moving away from the party.

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