By Yamikani Msukwa
The Alliance for Democracy’s (AFORD) national conventional is underway at Marymount Secondary School in Mzuzu where about 700 delegates are expected to, among others, elect new office bearers and strategies for the forthcoming 2014 tripartite elections. The two-day convention starts today, Friday, September 6 2013 and the party’s spokesperson Dan Msowoya said everything was in order, indicating that the indaba will consume about K11 million.
Current general secretary Kwauli Msiska, chairperson and minister of sports, Enock Chihana, acting President Godfrey Shawa and Kaseka Munthali are vying for the party’s presidency.
Msowoya will contest for the position of Secretary General and is being challenged by Loveness Gondwe, founder and President of National Rainbow Coalition (Narc). Members from Narc, National Patriotic Front (NPF) and People’s Development Movement (PDM) have been allowed to contest as they expressed interest to participate in the convention, which was supposed to be held last month but was postponed to give members ample time to prepare, according to Msowoya.
AFORD began as an underground political movement under Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship under the leadership of late Chakufwa Chihana who was a trade unionist and political activist. Chihana led an underground political movement that aimed at democratic multi-party rule. He was one of the first persons to openly challenge the single party system under Kamuzu Banda. He was arrested in 1992 at Kamuzu International Airport on his way back from abroad and his arrest heightened both domestic and international pressure as it led to increasing calls for multi-party rule both domestically and internationally. The former AFORD leader’s freedom was supported by Amnesty International as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Association. When other political parties became legal in 1993 as rivals of the then ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Chihana officially registered AFORD as an opposition party. AFORD had then moved from an underground movement to a registered political party. AFORD ran for the country’s first Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 1994 and came in third. Its founder, Chihana, was appointed as second vice president of the Republic of Malawi
By Yamikani Msukwa