MCP leader John Tembo has disclosed that he will run for the presidency during the party’s forthcoming convention. He was, however, quick to point out that if defeated he will accept the loss honourably as he does not want to be a source of confusion in the party he has led all along.

Tembo told The Daily Times in an exclusive interview on Monday, that he is yet to decide what he will do with his life should he not make it again as party president at the forth-coming convention.

According to Tembo it was his prayer that should he lose the presidency, his successor will keep the MCP together.

“It hasn’t come yet. I will meet it when I get there (the convention). I do not want to cause more confusion in the party. I will avoid anything that will cause confusion,” he said as he discussed his recent meeting with the aspiring presidential candidates of the party ahead of the July end indaba.

Tembo said he hoped in the event that he has been defeated his successor would be someone “who is very loyal to the party” and ensure that the MCP becomes stronger than it is at the moment and someone who was not a sell-out.

“In case of defeat, it’s important for successor to be a loyal leader. He should try to make the party stronger than it is now. Secondly, he will not be tempted by either money or anything else to sell the party to somebody else,” he said.

The veteran politician said the MCP has survived political turbulence and maintained its attraction because of its principles built around safeguarding the interests of rural populations and the poor.

Tembo disclosed that at the meeting with the aspiring candidates, he opened up on the issue of the number of the aspirants and left it to them to discuss if they wanted to maintain the status quo.

“In fact most of the candidates were very happy that I opened up this to them as candidates. But they were in no position to make a decision on whether to go on like that or not. They will consult further among themselves but at least I put out in the open my concerns,” he disclosed.

He disclosed that the final decision on who would contest for the presidency at the convention rests with the party validation committee which is yet to meet to chart the way forward on the matter.

“In spite of the fact that we are heading for competition at the convention, we should all be united behind one party.

“The issue is the Malawi Congress Party and not so much individuals. I said I would not like individual’s issues to divide the party. That was the message,” Tembo said.

The MCP president, refused to comment on speculation that his candidature is smoke-screen only to help him manage the transition but he would not contest.

He said the fact that so many people have expressed interest for the top party position vindicates his stand that the Malawi Congress Party had opened up and is a practically democratic organisation.

“It means one thing, that I as an MCP president was trying to open up, and be democratic, allow anybody who has got intention or ambition to run, to run in the open and not in secrecy. A division in the open is not a dangerous division but in secret, it’s destructive,” he said stressing that his prayer was that “the major item in their mind would be unity” to avoid dividing the MCP.

Tembo said he had allowed his rivals to campaign freely. Some people who have expressed interest to run for the presidency in MCP include former Famers Union president Felix Jumbe, Rev Lazarus Chakwera, retired Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, party secretary general Chris Daza, former cabinet Minister Jodder Kanjere and deputy secretary general Beston Majoni. Others are legislator Edwin Banda, former MP Lyton Dzombe and Eston Kakhome among others. – By Gabriel Kamlomo

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