Is it convention or Leadership endorsement?
The road to 2019 tripartite elections has begun, the mood is becoming hostile as parties have started preparations according to their constitutional requirements. Most parties argue that their constitution requires them to conduct a party convention every five years. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has announced that it will hold its convention on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd July 2018 at COMESA Hall in
Blantyre. All positions are there for grabs except that of President of the party who will also become a party torch bearer, this remains in the hands of Peter Mutharika and no one dares to compete with him.
Sentiments by the former first lady Callista Mutharika that President Peter Mutharika is not fit to rule the nation beyond 2019 and must relinquish power to vice president Saulos Chilima have divided the party. The Chilima faction is advocating for mindset change arguing that DPP is not for the Mutharika family rather it’s the party for all who are in it therefore any member is free to contest for any position including the presidency of the party.
Speaking to the media, DPP Publicity Secretary Francis Kasaila says that the party has informed the public about the date of the convention.
“We conduct our convention once every five years; the current mandate of the office bearers in the party is still valid until the end of the term” Kasaila said. However, whatever the case, the incumbent DPP president Peter Mutharika has been endorsed as the torch bearer before elections are conducted.
The DPP scenario is not for them alone, amid court injunctions even the party that has already conducted its convention the MCP, Reverend Dr Chakwera was endorsed and went to the convention without a competitor. One more interesting thing that happened during the MCP convention is that when the leadership realized that almost all positions were being taken by people from central region, the convention had to be stopped in order to consider people from other regions to grab some positions.
The other party that has cases on their neck is Aford, although the party agreed to conduct its convention with the endorsement of two contenders from two factions, one faction ended in endorsing their candidate Frank Mwenefumbo as their Torch Bearer while the faction led by Enock Chihana son to the founder of the party Chakufwa Chihana left the venue with the declaration of its leader arguing that the convention be rescheduled as tension was the prevalent mood as Chihana and Mwenifumbo could not agree on who was eligible to vote, there was chaos which could have led to bloodshed and may be loss of lives.
The other two parties that are yet to conduct their convention are People’s Party which is silent on whether they will go to convention soon or later. Finally the UDF has indicated that it will conduct its convention on August 1 in Blantyre with the endorsement of its President Atupele Muluzi the son of former President Bakili Muluzi, however one executive member of the party Lucius Banda who is also member of parliament has shown interest to contest as party president in order to end the notion that parties are family matters.
…whatever the case, the incumbent DPP president Peter Mutharika has been endorsed as the torch bearer before elections are conducted.