The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has played down calls by some disgruntled chairpersons for an emergency convention to address administrative issues reportedly rocking the party.

Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Monday, MCP Public Relations Officer, Alekeni Menyani, reiterated that the chairpersons are doing so as a ploy to delay impending elections.

“MCP president Lazarus Chakwera is not operating outside his mandate and legitimacy; otherwise, it is the chairpersons who are doing so because they have been holding their positions for too long.

“This is why we will be holding elections in all regions so that we have new office-bearers so that they seek new mandate. These people are doing so because of fear for the impending regional elections. They should just be preparing for the elections and we are waiting for their nomination papers,” he said.

In a letter dated January 9, 2016, the chairpersons, among other things, accused Chakwera of nepotistic tendencies.

They also claim that Chakwera gave more powers to members of Parliament (MPs), thereby disrespecting district and regional structures.

But Menyani, who was flanked by Jean Sendeza (Director of Political Affairs), Eisenhower Mkaka (Deputy Secretary General), Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, (Deputy Campaign Director ) and Manase Chiumia (District Chairperson for Nkhata Bay), dismissed such accusations, saying there is no MP who has been given more powers in the party at the expense of established structures

“No one elected during the convention has been fired by Right Honourable Chakwera, rather what happened is that he only reshuffled some positions based on individual capabilities. If there is anyone who is going against the party’s statutes, it is them for their prolonged stay on their positions. Regional chairpersons’ elections were last held in 1992 and the next elections were supposed to have taken place in 1995,” he said.

On nepotism accusations, Menyani said it would be folly for the party to overlook special abilities and expertise in certain individuals simply because they are related to Chakwera.

“When appointing such people, the president considered their competencies and looked at their prospective contributions to the party,” said Menyani.

He stated that the party is aware that the chairpersons have been sent by “other frustrated people” as a front.

“Let those officials not hide behind innocent chairpersons, rather they should come and present their issues at a round-table. People should not abuse the openness that Chakwera has accorded them and it’s important to exercise prudence and maturity in the way we handle matters affecting him,” said Menyani.

He did not, however, name the “frustrated people” who are using the regional chairpersons.

According to the MCP constitution, half of the 42 district committees or two thirds of NEC members can call for a convention.

MCP is scheduled to conduct regional elections for chairpersons on January 30 this year.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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