By Patricia Mtungila-MEC
A social commentator has described the Lilongwe High Court ruling, last week by Judge Charles Mkandawire to nullify the two parallel conventions that elected Frank Mwenifumbo and Enock Chihana both as President of AFORD, as good for both parties.
George Allan Phiri a Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Livingstonia said this in an interview on Saturday.
“ The decision by the Court is very good and it is in favour of both parties to elect the leadership that will take the Party to prepare for the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
“What is very important for AFORD is to come together and advocate for the leadership elections and then conduct the convention for them to begin aligning themselves to prepare for the 2019 Tripartite Elections,” said Phiri.
In his ruling, Judge Mkandawire determined that AFORD needed to hold a fresh convention to elect legitimate leadership.
But Mwenifumbo who claims that he has always extended an arm of dialogue to his rival Chihana says his camp is currently contemplating taking the matter for appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal as a final resolve.
Mwenifumbo was, however, quick to point out that court processes could lower the Party’s chances of triumphing in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
“Now we are weighing chances of going to appeal or not to appeal. This is a democracy we are going to weigh will weigh the options and see, we may go to Supreme Court and see but the judgement may come out next year after the elections have taken place.
“Due to lack of intra-Party democracy within AFORD this is affecting the Party in preparing for the Elections, overshadowing its chances of winning in the Tripartite elections, said Mwenifumbo.
The Chihana contender said that he agreed with the Court ruling that the governance challenges affecting the Party could only be resolved with political solutions from within AFORD.
But AFORD Publicity Secretary Khumbo Mwaungulu claims that the AFORD is still a strong political Party that is already positioning itself for the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
“As a Party we do not see anything that can affect the Party. The Court ruled that we can hold a convention at a certain time. You know holding a convention needs money. We need to sit down and see how we can raise the money,”
“Already the membership was there and is already there but what was confusing was who the president was. We are busy planning and putting our house in order. So, we may go to the Elections without a convention or after a convention,” said Mwaungulu.
Friday’s Court ruling is expected to bring to a closure a leadership wrangle that ensued between Chihana and Mwenifumbo in May after two factions within AFORD held parallel conventions which separately elected Mwenifumbo and, Chihana president.
Malawi’s political parties are now pinned by a new Legislation dubbed the Political Parties Law to hold a convention every five years after registration or face the threat of deregistration.