To onlookers, ceaseless power disputes are ripping Malawi Congress Party (MCP) like a ship in rough waters. But MCP deputy spokesperson Ezekiel Ching’oma tells our Staff Reporter AYAMI MKWANDA that the ship is moving forward.
MCP is currently rocked by internal wrangles. What image is your party portraying to Malawians a year before elections?
MCP is the party of the moment, a train unstoppable. There was a time people called it a regional party. At this point, I think we look at how people of good standing in the society are joining MCP. MCP remains the only hope for Malawians with Lazarus Chakwera as its leader. The wrangles that are there aren’t as significant as the media would want to portray it. The wrangles concern just a few disgruntled individuals in the national executive committee, who don’t even have a following.
Who are these people?
These are people who don’t wish MCP and Malawi well. They are at pains to see people flocking into the party, which is very unfortunate. When the party is at the grassroot, garnering support for 2019 elections, these individuals aren’t there. They only show up in this time of turmoil. There is no doubt they are agents of other parties that do not mean well both to MCP and to the nation. But MCP, through the leadership of Chakwera, has shown that democracy really exists. The image that should go out there is that MCP is very accommodative and believes in members working together for the benefit of the party and the nation. We are pleased to note that people in society are showing interest to serve the party in different positions.
What do you make of allegations that MCP is sidelining the party vice-president Richard Msowoya in preference for Sidik Mia?
It’s not true. These people perpetrating these lies may not be aware of the TOR [terms of reference] of the deputy president in MCP. There has never been a time when Mia executed any duties of the MCP deputy president, no. All the party knows is that Mia has expressed interest to contest for the position of deputy president. MCP is in a rebuilding exercise and we are happy to see people of influence in society showing interest to serve the party in different portfolios. It is also pleasing that these people are joining the party way before the convention is held. As a party, we know that joining a party at the convention is not a good test because the delegates don’t have time to scrutinise the person. When a person has expressed interest to join the party it does not necessarily mean that they have assumed that position, no.
Some NEC members accuse Chakwera of flouting the constitution of the party. Why is the man, who aspires to rule this country, doing this?
To argue that Dr Chakwera created new positions that do not exist in the constitution just shows that (a) they are reading this constitution in isolation and (b) they lack institutional memory. It is very unfortunate to see the one [who preaches] constitutionalism not practising the same. For example, the team leader of this group, our secretary general [Gustav Kaliwo], has boycotted party duties for over two years in a row and has missed more than five NEC meetings while our constitution is clear that missing three consecutive NEC meetings is tantamount to self-dismissal. The question is: why wouldn’t he just put tools down if he is a champion of constitutionalism? There are levels of authority in MCP. The highest authority of them all is the constitution and the second highest is the NEC. The constitution empowers NEC to execute and manage the party and its operations and to make sure that MCP is a viable institution. Resolutions made by NEC can only be challenged by the convention. Way before the 2013 convention, NEC agreed at one of its meetings that one way to make MCP a viable institution was also to have in NEC positions that we did not have in the party. The positions include the one mentioned above, directors of campaign and public relations. The convention deliberated these positions among others and ratified them.
From 2014 to this far, how has been the performance of MCP in Parliament?
MCP is so vibrant in Parliament in conjunction with other opposition parties. If there has been a parliamentary tenure where government has been held on its toes, it is this one—the 2014—2019 Parliament. Through Parliament, corrupt practices have been uncovered. MCP’s performance in Parliament is commendable. Malawians can attest to this.
Will the party make an alliance with another ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections?
Alliances with like-minded parties can’t be ruled out. But it is too early to say which parties will be there with us to face the 2019 elections. But MCP will work with all parties in opposition that wish mother Malawi well. The essence is to liberate Malawi from the hands of the failed MCP government. MCP is a ship on the move. From 2014 to now, it is gaining popularity. All this is because Chakwera believes in open-door policy. Malawians who wish this country well are joining MCP to liberate Malawians from the jaws of rampant corruption by the DPP government. The party is encouraging all its members—old and new, small or big—to celebrate when new members are joining the party.