Cracks in Alliance for Democracy

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    Tension is simmering in the opposition Alliance for Democracy (Aford) ahead of the party’s convention on December 16 2017 in the Central Region.

    This comes several months after Aford embarked on an intensive exercise to revamp the party in order to regain its lost glory in the Northern Region and some other parts of the country.

    The Daily Times can reveal that there are disagreements between party president Enoch Chihana and the Revamp Aford Movement (Ramo), a grouping that has been at the centre of activities to resuscitate the party.

    In a leaked conversation with Ramo’s chairperson Owen Mumba, Chihana recently threatened to fire all party members affiliated to Ramo accusing the pressure group of overstepping its mandate thus dividing the party.

    But yesterday, Chihana said he could not remember to have had such a discussion but stressed that Ramo remains a social media movement and people are bound to flout some policies of the party.

    He thus reiterated that, like any other party, Aford has its own disciplinary measures.

    “As a party, we can never be swayed by whatever is going on on social media, Ramo is an open place, people can go in and out without any control. There is freedom of speech there which is encouraged in Aford but when people fire loose cannons anyhow they definitely have to be controlled and disciplined accordingly,” he said.

    Further to the fears of the sour relationship between Chihana and the grouping, on September 9 2017, Enoch did not attend a Chakufwa Chihana fundraising dinner organised by the Ramo in Mzuzu and is reported to have threatened the organising committee not to mention his father’s name at the event.

    While recognising the Aford group is part of revamping the agenda, Chihana yesterday denied reports that the movement was endorsed by the National Executive Council (Nec) as an affiliate of the party.

    This contradicts party General Secretary Christopher Richi and Ramo’s chairperson Mumba who said in separate interviews that the pressure group was endorsed by the Nec.

    “Those affiliates have to apply to the party and it is up to the Nec to accept or reject an application. As of now we have not yet discussed issues of Ramo, though we are aware of their application. The Nec that will come out of the convention is the one which will decide on the matter,” Chihana explained.

    Asked on the status of the pressure group’s relationship with Chihana, Mumba conceded that there have been misunderstandings.

    “Other party leaders felt threatened by Ramo. We became too strong, but all that is in the past and we have operated with the mandate of top leadership since inception until September 19 this year when we were officially endorsed by the Nec,” Mumba said.

    Commenting on the convention Mumba said it is crucial since delegates will elect leaders who will steer the party past the 2019 tripartite elections.

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