People’s Party (PP) interim leader Uladi Mussa has laughed off his suspension by the party’s national executive committee (NEC), saying the decision is invalid because he rose to the position following the party’s constitution.
In an interview yesterday, Mussa maintained he was still PP interim leader as the party’s constitution gives him the mandate to run the affairs.
He said: “My position was not by appointment, but rather, constitutional and then it was just the two of us—me and [PP president] Joyce Banda after all had resigned.
“As such, according to the constitution, I automatically became the acting president. It is the constitution that mandated me.”
PP NEC suspended Mussa on Friday hours after he declared his interest to challenge founding president and other hopefuls at a party convention to choose the PP torchbearer in the 2019 presidential race.
According to the PP constitution, in the absence of the president for whatever reasons or due to incapacity or whenever the president wishes, the duties of the president shall be performed by the first vice-president.
Reads in part the PP constitution: “Or, in the absence or incapacity of both the president and the first vice-president, such duties shall be performed by the second vice-president, or in his absence, the third vice-president.”
But PP spokesperson Noah Chimpeni said there is no need for Mussa to base his argument on the constitution as the party already has Banda as president despite being abroad since losing the May 20 2014 presidential elections.
Last week, Mussa argued that as per the party’s constitution, Banda’s tenure of office expired on August 28 this year, and such being the case, there is a constitutional crisis within the party.
Reacting to the developments in PP last week, political analyst Ernest Thindwa based at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College said the events unfolding in the party were a result of the power vacuum that has existed since Banda went abroad.
He said: “A party is a link between the people and government. The people that fill the positions in a party need to be elected through democratic means. I would like to believe that the party has a constitution and the constitution needs to be respected.”
PP formed the government in April 2012 following ascendancy of Banda to the presidency in line with constitutional order after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika.
Banda, who finished third in the presidential race in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, has lived mostly in South Africa and the United States since she left office. She has however hinted through the media her intentions to come back home.n