MCP faces internal strife as officials have expressed concern over the decision to put stringent criteria for selection of aspirants to its National Executive Committee (NEC) positions, including the party presidency.
Among the conditions for aspirants is a five-year membership in the party which would effectively bar some presidential candidates among them former Assemblies of God President Lazurus Chakwera, retired Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and former Farmers Union of Malawi President Felix Jumbe.
In separate interviews, the officials accused the party’s leadership, particularly chairperson of the convention Joseph Njobvuyalema, whom they alleged is seeking to vie for the party president position, of being behind the decision.
An MP, who sought for anonymity, said a majority of the officials in the party were of the view that the move was targeted at barring some popular candidates.
“It’s a few people who are behind this. They are trying to influence us to accept this but they can’t stop our preferred candidates from standing,” said the MP.
Another MP, who is also a NEC member, said the party’s NEC never discussed the matter but said the committee organising the convention came up with the decision.
“As NEC we never decided on the matter but appointed some people to speak on the matter. But we have realised those who are speaking for the party have their own interests,” said the MP.
But Njobvuyalema, who could that he was aspiring for the presidency, defended the party’s move, saying the decision was made by the whole NEC in line with its constitutional mandate.
“Each and every party needs candidates who fit a certain criteria and as MCP we also want proper candidates to contest at the convention. However, we will do that process later and also release other details such as dates for the convention,” said Njobvuyalema.
While dismissing suggestions that he was behind the decision to put conditions and defending his role as chairperson of the convention Njobvuyalema could not say whether he would indeed contest for the presidency.
“I have been a member of the party for over 20 years. I have a right to participate in organising the convention. It’s not fair to expect me not to be part of the convention when I have helped to strengthen the party through very difficult years to make it attractive to all these candidates,” said Njobvuyalema.
MCP’s Lilongwe Nsonzi South MP, Vitus Dzoole Mwale, has announced that he is going to contest for the position of General Secretary at the convention.
Mwale said on Saturday he was optimistic that the party would be stronger after the convention and hence rejected the temptation to run for the party presidency to concentrate on helping the rebuilding exercise.
“I am joining the race with great enthusiasm and hope. I am more than 14 years old in MCP and I am very optimistic of the party’s chances to win but we must all work hard towards that goal,” said in an interview.
Over 11 aspirants, including the incumbent president John Tembo, have expressed interest to vie for the presidency but Mwale becomes the first person to publicly declare interest in the general secretary position. – By Golden Matonga