The election of Reverend Lazarus Chakwela as Malawi Congress Party president has rekindled some hope of resurrecting the country’s oldest political party back to its glorious days.
Delegates at the MCP Convention at Natural Resources College gave former president John Tembo a vote of no confidence and turned down a proposal to amend the constitution to allow him contest the position for a third term.
Later Chakwera ended up scoring 287 votes followed by former Cief Justice Lovemore Munlo with 169 and Chris Daza with 90 votes to take over the manlte from Tembo.
Political analysts have described the convention as perhaps one of the most democratic in the history of not only MCP but other parties as well.
Of course this is in reference to UDF, DPP and PP Conventions which many felt were just smoke screen to rubber stamp candidates already endorsed by parties’ NEC.
Political Scientists Association of Malawi Secretary General Ernest Thindwa said what transpired at the Convention was a manifestation that MCP was embracing democratic principles.
“It’s a positive development and marks a new era in terms of constitutionalism in the MCP. What this means is that everyone in the MCP wants to play by the rules of the party without any exceptions,” Thindwa said.
But observers have cautioned that the man of God’s election is just a first step towards the resuscitation of the party.
“The idea was leadership change, change that could bring hope. Through the delegates, one milestone was attained, refusal to rape the constitution of the party for the sake of one person. Dr Chakwera winning the president ticket is just a drop, the whole saga is about MCP and new leadership that gives hope.
“By new leadership, it’s by no means throwing out all old guard but reaching a good mix of upright and solid leaders, both new and old. How will delegates shape the future? Let’s wait, Dr Chakwera is not the full package, his management team will be,” Daud Suleiman of Lilongwe observes.
Reverend Chakwela has said as a minister he wants to serve God’s people in a different context other than the church.
While others look at his association with the Pentecostal church as an advantage others have warned that he has to tread carefully in this area if he is to be embraced fully by all.
“One mistake I foresee MCP committing is turning itself into Malawi Christian Party. Turning it into a Christian party could alienate Moslems, animists (nyau included and I guess you know what that means in MCP’s bedrock), moderate Christians, atheists,” Arnold Munthali said.
More people are hoping Chakwela will not ride on the white collar he wears in his quest for victory in next year elections.
“Unfortunately, in politics he has to carry everybody on board..Where will be the position of Muslims, atheist in this ‘Malawi Christian Party’? He has to let go the pulpit syndrome, yes because politics is a game of numbers..Especially considering the fact that MCP is predominantly central region party he has a huge task if he is to win,” Annitha Donnitha Mlowoka said.
Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera born Apri 5, 1955 was until Masy this year Malawi Assemblies Of God President a position he has held since 1989.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) Degree from the University of Malawi in 1977 and got his honors degree (BTh)from the University of the North, Sovenga, South Africa.
In 1991 he got his masters (MTh, from the University of South Africa The Trinity International University, in Deerfield, Illinois, USA awarded him a doctorate (D. Min) in the year 2000. The Pan Africa Theological Seminary awarded him Professorship in 2005