ROAD TO 2025: Fresh pressure over MCP eligibility criteria

CCAP Blantyre Synod’s Church and Society has joined CCAP Synod of Livingstonia in condemning Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) decision on eligibility for its NEC positions.

MCP, however, says  the concerns have no basis as the party has not issued any stament on its recent NEC resolutions.

The Livingstonia Synod was the first to raise its eyebrows.

In the latest development, CCAP Blantyre Synod’s Church and Society wants the party to reverse  the decision that bars party members who have not served two years from contesting for its national executive committee (NEC) positions.

Church and Society director Master Jumbe attacked MCP for approving the resolution, branding it as a threat to democratic governance

“MCP does not belong to current office-bearers. It is a party that belongs to all members and no person should be allowed to own it or bar others from contesting for any position,” he charged in response to our questionnaire.

Asked why the church is interested in the matter, he said MCP as a leading governing partner ought to lead by example in promoting democracy.

Jumbe added: “It is imperative for the party to inform party members and the general public on all resolutions made at the NEC meeting to prepare all aspirants.”

At a meeting held on February 28 2024, MCP NEC passed a resolution to amend eligibility requirements ahead of its convention scheduled for August 2024.

MCP member Eddie Banda penned party secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka on March 4 2024, demanding clarification on the resolution.

The bone of contention is whether the resolution will be tabled at the party convention or will be applicable in the upcoming convention.

Meanwhile, Banda has followed up with another letter dated March 19 2024 and is yet to  get a response from the party.

“In my previous letter, I raised concerns and sought clarification on the amendment that stipulates only individuals who have been members for over two years and hold a party position are eligible to stand for any position in the upcoming convention.

“This proposed requirement has significant implications for the party’s democratic processes and internal governance. I urge you to provide a detailed explanation regarding the rationale behind this amendment,” he said.

Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society director the Reverend Mcbowman Mulagha hit at the party for its delays to clarify.

“They are trying to rape the party constitution, leveraging on the article which stipulate that NEC can change some rules of engagement to suit the diehards,” he said.

Governance and human rights advocate Undule Mwakasungula urged the party to shift the implementation of the new policy to future conventions.

“Embracing diversity, including the engagement of the youth and new members, could enhance a more vibrant and forward-looking party culture, as seen in other African nations embracing new generations of youthful leadership,” he said.

Mkaka did not respond to our questionnaire sent on Tuesday.

The current MCP NEC’s mandate expired last year and it decided to extend its stay for a year.

Meanwhile, legal experts have argued that the committee does not have powers to make such critical changes.

In an earlier interview, private practice lawyer Gladwell Majekete said members are simply holding positions over as such they cannot make conclusive decisions.

He said: “If positions are filled at an elective conference or convention and the five years has lapsed, these people can hold over so that there is no vacuum. However, they are limited on making decisions which should have been made at a convention.

Another legal expert Lonnex Kachamba is also on record to have dismissed the party’s argument that it shifted the elective convention due to the change in the country’s electoral calendar.

“MCP is guided by its constitutional provisions and not by the country’s electoral laws. The mandate extension is not legally binding.

But MCP spokesperson Ezekiel Ching’oma said NEC has not issued any statement regarding its recent meeting, adding that the concerns have no basis.- ( Story Credit Clement Chinoko, Nation Online)


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