Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is hunting for at least K20 million (about $50 000) to hold its convention on April 27 in Lilongwe to elect a president who will also lead the party in the 2014 presidential race.

In an interview on Thursday, MCP deputy chief whip Lingson Belekanyama said while the party has not yet come up with the actual budget for the convention, they are expecting the indaba to cost them at least K20 million.

MCP’s convention is scheduled to take place at the Natural Resources College (NRC) where about 800 delegates are expected to attend.

“We are looking at a figure of not less than K20 million. It cannot be less than that,” said Belekanyama.

MCP director of the convention Joseph Njovuyalema on Tuesday said the party foresees financial challenges on its convention despite expressing optimism that the conference will still take place as scheduled.

Belekanyama said they are banking on MCP supporters and other well-wishers to raise over K20 million for the convention.

“We expect that some people will come forward to support the convention. There are some people who have expressed interest to make contributions,” he said. He did not disclose details of the individuals.

Apart from paying for the venue of the convention, MCP is also expected to meet costs for delegates’ transport, food and party clothes to be distributed to the delegates and other expenses.

At the convention, MCP leader John Tembo is likely to face challenge from Nkhotakota Central member of Parliament Edwin Banda and the party’s secretary general Chris Daza.

Belekanyama said while some people have showed interest to contest for the party’s presidential post, nobody has so far officially communicated their interest to the party.

“We just know that people are mobilising support on the ground,” he said.

Daza who has had sour relations with Tembo after his continued calls for the MCP president to leave the party’s leadership in the hands of young blood, this week trashed the preparatory process for the convention, saying as secretary general of the party, he has not been consulted on preparations.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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