Former Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo declined to serve in Malawi Congress Party (MCP) national executive committee (NEC) because he found the request from party president Lazarus Chakwera to be vague.
Munlo, who competed for the presidency against Chakwera during the MCP convention in August last year was not among the 37 NEC members chosen last October , leading to speculation on his position and membership in the party.
Speaking through his spokesperson Welford Sabola, Munlo said the only time he was offered a position in the party was when Chakwera was criticised for leaving out some influential people in NEC.
Said Sabola: “Since the MCP convention took place in August , former Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo made a decision to support the MCP president Dr Lazarus Chakwera. Justice Munlo attended several rallies held by Dr Chakwera but despite showing solidarity for the party he was left out in Chakwera’s first team of members of the executive committee.
“After Dr Chakwera was heavily criticised in the media and by party supporters he phoned Justice Munlo five minutes before announcing additional [NEC] team at the party’s headquarters a number of days after the first team was constituted.”
But Sabola said Munlo declined the offer of serving in NEC because he felt that the request coming at the eleventh hour was rather unclear.
“Despite the fact that Justice Munlo declined the offer he assured Dr Chakwera that he would be available to give support to the party in the event that they need genuine assistance. But since that time, neither Dr Chakwera nor any other member managing the party has come back to Justice Munlo to ask him to play any part in the party,” he said.
Reacting to reports making rounds that Munlo was offered the running mate position or the position of secretary general in MCP, Sabola described such reports as mere speculation.
Sabola conceded that Munlo has not been attending recent party meetings because as an ordinary member, he is never given the calendar of events of the MCP presidency for him to know that the president is holding meetings and that his presence is required.
“Closed as the party is now, Justice Munlo does not know what is happening in the party since he is not in the management team and is not briefed on the goings on in the party,” he said.
MCP deputy publicity secretary Ezekiel Ching’oma said it is unfortunate that Munlo declined a NEC position because the party needs the contribution of people like him to move forward.
“If Justice Munlo has conceded that he declined Dr Chakwera’s offer then as a party we want to know which other way we can approach him for him to make contributions to the party. Justice Munlo might be the only person who was contacted before being appointed because most of us were drafted into the NEC even without being notified in advance,” said Ching’oma.
On reports that Munlo declined to be the running mate to Chakwera, Ching’oma said he could not comment on speculations.