Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Assemblies of God Church, has resigned to focus on running for president of main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
“Yes, I made the announcemnet regarding my retirement to the leadership of the church so that I can ably pursue the position of the presidency in MCP.
“I did indicate earlier on that I would resign as president of the church to allow smooth leadership transition in the church. I also resigned as chairman of the Malawi National Council of Sports,” Chakwera confirmed in an interview Friday.
If he wins the presidency of the MCP – the oldest party in the southern African country which ruled from independence in 1964 to 1994 – he would party’s candidate for Malawi president in next year’s elections.
Apart from Chakwera and incumbent president John Tembo, other people who presented nomination papers for the MCP presidency are recently retired chief justice Lovemore Munlo, former cabinet minister Jodder Kanjere, former Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) president Felix Jumbe, former MCP secretary general Betson Majoni, the party’s former director of political affairs Eston Kakhome and current secretary general Chris Daza.
However, all aspirants will be scrutinized before a final list is presented before the convention, according to the party’s Director of Elections Joseph Njobvuyalema.
MCP has also developed an eight-point checklist to scrutinise aspirants for the party’s presidency and executive positions.
“The party will shortlist the candidates eligible to run for the party’s presidency and other executive posts at the party’s convention. Any company sets some qualifications for people seeking employment,” he asserted.
The convention was postponed indefinitely following a shortfall of K15 million as the party needed K35 million to stage the national indaba.
But the postponement of the convention set tongues wagging. Tembo, who is barred by the party’s constitution form contesting again after being the party’s torchbearer in two elections, has resisted calls to step down. Senior party members have said the party intends to abolish the two-term limit which critics say is designed to allow Tembo to contest one more time.