ROUND UPThe governing People’s Party needs unity after its convention which had some surprises, Raphael Tenthani reports
BLANTYRE--Pres Joyce Banda has called for 'unity of purpose' in the Peoples Party (PP) as the ruling party begins a new era with an elected National Executive Committee.
Banda was speaking in Blantyre Tuesday night at the end of the party's two-day maiden national convention. She said leaders need to respect grassroots members of the party for they are the real custodians of the party.
"We need grassroots members for elections but once we are elected we forgot them," she said. "This is wrong for it is them who are owners of the party."
President Banda, however, praised delegates for the peaceful manner in which the convention was held.
"This is testimony that PP is for peace and harmony," she said.
The convention was nonetheless not without drama. While President Banda and Vice-President Khumbo Kachali sailed through unchallenged as President and Vice-President (Operations) interim Treasurer General and founding member Brown Mpinganjira lost to former ruling DPP supremo Muhammad Sidik Mia on the position of Vice-President (Administration).
But BJ, as the former powerful minister is known, was cool with his loss, saying he wasn't quitting in frustration.
"Positions only help the party manage things properly, not all of us can be leaders," said Mpinganjira who preaches on the side. "God has plans for all of us."
The Vice-Presidency (Political) was also tense in the central region where the reticent academic, former State Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha saw off the multi-pronged challenge from Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa, former Transport Minister Clement Stambuli and former MCP presidential aspirant Chris Chaima Banda.
Mussa, like BJ, also said he wasn’t bitter.
"I'll continue serving the nation and the President," he said.
But the most dramatic contest was that of Treasurer General that had to be stopped for over 24 hours. Pres Banda intervened to call for fair distribution of positions.
"PP is a national party and all the four regions have to be represented in the executive," she said Monday night.
The crux of the matter was that Harry Mkandawire, who was eye-marked for the post, was bound to lose to Steven Mijiga, a southerner. But after backroom deals all aspirants withdrew to give Mkandawire a chance. However, that wasn’t before President Banda offered Mijiga the post of 'Special Advisor for Strategic Planning'.
The other major upset was in the post of Publicity Secretary that saw former UDF heavy weight Hophmally Makande defeat interim publicity secretary Steven Mwenye and Information minister Moses Kumkuyu. Finance Minister Ken Lipenga easily sailed through as Director of Economic Affairs, as did former DPP member Kalanzi Mbewe as Campaign Director.
Henry Chibwana saw off the challenge from lawyer Paul Maulidi to retain the post of Secretary General. Prominent lawyer Ralph Kasambara becomes Director of Legal Affairs with Henry Phoya as his deputy. Former UDF MP John Chikalimba becomes Director of Research while Ken Kandodo becomes Director of Strategic Planning.
Clara Mary Mwanyungwa is now Director of Women while Salim Bagus becomes National Organising Secretary. Rev. Malani Mtonga becomes Religious Affairs and Civil Society Organisation Director while former minister and UDF heavy weight Peter Chupa becomes Director for Recruitment and Sensitisation.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.