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Malawi

Unpacking Aford leadership dilemma

Alliance for democracy (Aford) wrangles are refusing to die following the emergence of two factions that are led by Enoch Chihana and Frank Mwenifumbo. Our reporter AYAMI MKWANDA engaged Frank Mwenifumbo to hear what they are doing to resolve the conflict.

Mwenifumbo: I emerged winner

Q

: Who is leading Aford now following two conventions that elected you and Enoch Chihana as presidents?

A

: Following the ruling by the court in which Aford was ordered to hold its national elective conference on the May 1 2018 , I frank Mwenifumbo emerged the winner of the election.  My contender honourable Enock Chihana erroneously and prematurely declared the convention closed before the business of which the convention was convened for was accomplished citing violence as the reason for closure. It has to be made known that delegates to the convention irrespective of preference of a candidate observed the decorum and order of the convention. Violence was once again perpetrated by one of the personal bodyguards of the then leader as per witness statement that was lodged at the police by the secretary general himself Hon Ritchie.

Q

: Do you think the court will be a good place to solve the wrangles between the two factions?

A:

I always believe that the courts are the rightful places to resolve disputes arising from legality and that issues of political legitimacy are best resolved at intra-party level through political platforms like what is provided for by our party’s constitution under sections 25 which allows the establishment of ‘the legal’ and constitutional affairs committee with the sole mandate of resolving internal party disputes and interpretation of our party’s constitution. Unfortunately this committee never existed in the previous party administration and resulted in seeking external arbiters like courts. This is in line with the courts determination in one of their earlier ruling which the judge reminded us that the courts are not there to resolve political disputes but encourage parties to resolve their differences internally. It is for this reason that I have been extending an olive branch to my colleague to engage in dialogue for us to resolve our leadership wrangles amicably. In response to that my colleague resorted to seeking legal recourse.

Q

: With eight months to the 2019 Tripartite

Elections with your internal fights, will you be able to compete strongly against others?

A

: I can emphatically state that if we could resolve our internal wrangles now Aford will be able to make serious in-roads and gain the  much desired seats in both parliamentary and local government levels with these eight months left to the polls .

Q

: Some parties are busy canvassing support on ground and holding primaries. What is Aford doing?

A

: It is indeed sad that our party is on the grid-locks.  Instead of us campaigning for our candidates to win their seats, we are busy fighting with each other in courts. This has a knock-on effect in terms of winning trust and confidence from the voters. We don’t know for how long the wheel of justice will take to grind. Only God knows when it shall come to pass.

Q

: Aford was once a powerful force in the North but now the party just won one seat in 2014 elections. With these wrangles, how can the party regroup in 2019 to reclaim its former glory?

A

Q

: Are you planning to go into an alliance with other parties?

A

: After soul searching as to what brought about this decimal performance, we discovered that one of the main causes was these marriages of conveniences through premature electoral alliances. These alliances were not properly structured and in many cases lacked political essence. Alliances in their right senses are not bad. They become bad where you enter wholesomely. All in all, over time, electoral alliances eroded our support base which has diminished our strength both at parliamentary and local government level. We shall therefore carefully expedite on the potency of these alliances.

Q

: Any other last remarks?

A

: It is my hope that we shall soon resolve our leadership wrangles sooner than later so that we recoup the much needed glory once enjoyed by Aford.  I still want to ask my brother honourable Enock Chihana to come to the round table where we shall iron out our differences in a more sustainable manner. I wish all political parties a peaceful and successful national campaign. May God bless our beautiful country Malawi.

us!