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UDF fires vice-president Omar, and two others over ‘gross misconduct’

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One of Malawi’s former ruling party, the United Democratic Front (UDF) has expelled its first vice president, Iqbal Omar, from the party.

However, the former Lilongwe City South West Member of Parliament has insisted that he is still in UDF and holding his position.

Omar was elected vice to the party’s president, Atupele Muluzi, at a convention which took place in October 2012.

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The decision to expel him was made during a National Executive Committee (Nec) meeting which took place in Lilongwe on Friday afternoon, following recommendations of a disciplinary committee.

The former cabinet minister has been expelled together with two other officials in the party, deputy director of women, Zaituna Yusuf and deputy central region governor, Dinocius Magombo.

In an interview, UDF deputy publicity secretary, Judith Ngwira said Omar, Yusuf and Magombo have been expelled for gross misconduct.

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“Honourable Omar has been expelled from the party for forming parallel structures. He was appointing new regional governors. He also opened a new regional office [in Lilongwe], without the knowledge of the party. Apart from that, he was conducting meetings without the knowledge of the party’s secretary general,” Ngwira said.

According to sources, Omar was present in the meeting when a disciplinary committee, chaired by the party’s third vice vresident, Charles Chikuwo, presented its findings to the disciplinary committee.

The sources say the former Lilongwe City South West legislator, was calm after the decision was made, and even shook hands with some party officials who attended the meeting at the end.

In an interview on Saturday, Omar said he does not accept the decision.

“I’m still a member of the party. I will die UDF. That is a decision made by disgruntled people. I cannot accept that. In the meeting, I challenged them to call all district governors and regional committee members to hear from them if the allegations were true but they did not accept,” he said.

Both Yusuf and Magombo were also not in agreement with the decision.

“I was elected at a convention. I have not resigned from my position. I have not died. I will be on this position for five years [up to 2018]. If they want to remove me from my position, they should call a convention. I cannot follow what is coming from one or two people,” Yusuf said.

For some months, there have been two UDF Central Region governors, each claiming to be legitimate: Magombo and Martin Matabwa.

The group led by Magombo, which has been supporting Omar, opened a new office at Area 24 in Lilongwe in August.

But the other committee, led by Martin Matabwa, was operating from a motel at Biwi, before recently moving to new offices along Likuni road.

In an earlier interview, UDF Publicity Secretary, Ken Ndanga, said the party recognises Matabwa as the regional governor and Magombo as his deputy.

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