Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has come up with an eight-point checklist that will be used in screening and short-listing people who intend to contest for various positions in the party at a convention whose date is yet to be announced.

The party Thursday postponed its convention that was slated for this Saturday, April 27 to 29 in the capital Lilongwe.

“We planned to accommodate our delegates at the Natural Resources College but we understand that since classes are in session they can only accommodate only 200 delegates,” Joseph Njobvuyalema, the party’s director of elections, told MaraPost at the end of the party’s emmergency National Executive Council meeting in Lilongwe.

He also said he party has a K15m shortfall. He indicated that the convention may be held in June at the earliest or August at the latest.

Before the postponement, the party announced a strict screening process for those interested in holding office.

“All aspirants of the national executive committee position including the presidency will be scrutinized before a final list is taken before the convention. The names of all people will have to be assessed,” said MCP Administrative Secretary Portiphar Chidaya.

“People vying for such positions must have been in the system for quite some,” he added.

Chidaya, however, couldn’t get into details regarding the eight-point list, saying the party’s national executive committee (Nec), which he described as a final decision-making body, was better placed to ‘spill the beans’.

This so far is what is known: Contestants must have been members for at least five years; they must have resources and believe in the four cournerstones of the party viz obedience, loyalty, unity and discipline.

Presidential hopefuls who have submitted their nomination papers are former cabinet minister Jodder Kanjere, MCP president John Tembo, legislator Edwin Banda, Layton Dzombe, Malawi Assemblies of God President Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, current secretary general Chris Daza, former chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, former MCP secretary general Beston Majoni, former Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) President Felix Jumbe and former MCP director of political affairs Eston Kakhome, bringing the number to 10.

This is the first time for the party to have many people interested in Tembo’s job. Renowned human rights activist Justin Dzonzi says it’s time for Tembo, the party’s oldest active member who is gunning for a third term, to leave the stage.

But every cloud has a silver lining. University of Malawi political scientist Dr. Blessings Chinsinga was quoted.

Party supporter James Banda is excited about the attention the party has received so far.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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