BLANTYRE--There was a defection bombshell in Malawi on Thursday with the dramatic defections of vice president Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, President of Maravi Party Uladi Mussa and Blantyre lawmaker Henry Phoya, who recently joined Malawi Congress Party, joining the gravy train of Pres Joyce Banda's People's Party.
Chilumpha was until recently chairman of the Friday Jumbe camp of the UDF, while Phoya, left the DPP to join the MCP, after he was dropped from the cabinet by late president Bingu wa Mutharika and went to become a fierce critic of the party.
The three made the announcements at the PP's headquarters located at Nancholi suburb before vice president of the PP and the country, Khumbo Kachale.
Chilumpha told Kachale that the "country is facing enormous challenges which need consorted effort to resolve", hence his joining the PP. "I had no choice but join the PP. It's the right time to do so," Chilumpha added.
Chilumpha, accused by Mutharika of plotting to assassinate the President, said he had actually "withdrawn my membership" from the UDF to join the PP.
It’s not clear whether his treason charges would still continue since the death of Mutharika of cardiac arrest on April 5. Chilumpha spent the rest of his term as vice president facing the charges, which effectively made him politically redundant.
Phoya said he has decided to get out of MCP because "when I went there, I discovered that it was only John Tembo who welcomed me as other members said they have got nothing to do with the Southern Region."
He said it was impossible to be working with the PP while he is a member of another party, adding that he was the only DPP member who spoke against the expulsion of Joyce Banda.
Mussa, on the other hand, said the whole Maravi party has moved with him to the PP.
He didn’t indicate whether his party had been dissolved. A former right hand man of Mutharika and one of the founders of the DPP, he soon fell out of favour with the late president and founded his own party as a survival mechanism.
"One needs to work with a friend and not a stranger," he said, apparently referring to Joyce Banda as the friend and Mutharika the stranger.
He added: "Banda needs the support of everyone if we are to forge ahead in development. We need to work together."
Mussa is the only MP of his party.
Although PP has said politicians joining its party need to follow parliamentary procedures of resigning first from their parties and applying to the new party, the party’s Veep Kachale said he, president Joyce Banda and the entire PP family had welcomed the three "whole-heartedly."
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment