MCP campaign war turns ugly

…allegations of sex, corruption, witchcraft

…exposes alleged wealthy ministers

Senior Cabinet Ministers are thieves or stealing from public coffers, abusing National Economic Empowerment Funds (NEEF) and even practising witchcraft to win at the forthcoming Malawi Congress Party (MCP) convention, The Investigator Magazine has been told.

Allegations are flying with personal dossiers of senior party figures, their families, and properties, of sexual misconduct or who is sleeping with whom, who has become rich overnight; criminal allegations of theft are contained in different dossiers sent to the Magazine, while some of the allegations have been posted on social media as factions within MCP descend on each other in the run-up to party indaba later this year.

Among the allegations is that one cabinet minister contender has spent two weeks at a witchdoctor’s place to ensure his victory. The allegations contained in an email The Investigator Magazine has received show the Minister (name withheld) allegedly arriving at the witch doctor’s compound one night for rituals that will include the death of another senior party official for him to win.

Two senior ministers- Richard Chimwendo Banda for Local Government is facing allegations that he has built a multimillion-kwacha lodge in Salima district and owns a fleet of vehicles. Chimwendo Banda is running for a low-ranking National Director of Campaign post, but he is thought to be among the powerful old-timers who have thrown their weight behind Speaker Catherine Gotani NyaHara for the party’s vice president post and Einshower Mkaka.

The other is Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda, whose private investments and properties are now the subject of public discourse, with MCP insiders alleging he is a multibillionaire property owner, a fleet of vehicles and ridiculously an allegation that he has constructed an 8-kilometre long dam which would be bigger than Lake Malombe, Lake Chiuta and Lake Kazuni combined.

Chithyola Banda is seeking to dislodge Secretary General Einshower Mkaka and the battles now are very personal.

Speaker and Mumba now tie up for the vice presidency

Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani NyaHara has well-oiled party machinery campaigning for her ascendancy to become the party’s first deputy president, which the MCP constitution says will automatically become running mate to the party leader, President Chakwera.

Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani NyaHara has well-oiled party machinery campaigning for her

The party’s social media activists associated with Mkaka and Chimwendo are doing her trumpeting, and her rivals seem to have found very little dirt to paste on her, leaving her unscathed in the latest bare-hands fights that have rocked the convention election campaign.

The main accusations are that she is using the position of Speaker to get NEEF loans for parliamentarians and send them on lucrative foreign trips. None can be independently verified as NEEF loans are being given to many MPs, including the opposition, as The Investigator Magazine will report soon.

Gotani NyaHara is bidding to become the first female vice president for the party, and she seems to have garnered the support of other influential ladies in the party, such as Mrs Abida Mia, the Water Minister and party financier who was rumoured to have had ambitions to run for the post herself. She is not seeking any position and has publicly posted herself with the Speaker.

The Speaker represents the old-timer’s group, but they must sort out with new timers now led by youthful Engineer Vitumbiko Mumba, who has been incorporated in the North-South committee in a rebut of the party’s new policy of having people who have held party positions only to run at the convention.

But troubles for Mumba are many as he is accused of authoring a critical letter to Mkaka on behalf of party Regional Chairmen who challenged their Secretary-General that Article 25 (6) of the party constitution allows them to incorporate new members. They are doing so to fill vacancies before the convention.

Mumba is accused of authoring a critical letter to Mkaka on behalf of party Regional Chairmen

“It’s worth noting that some Regional Committees had as few as 40 members instead of the mandated 90 members,” says a letter signed by Zebron Chilondola (Central REGION, Joseph Chavula (North-South), Augustine Chidzanja (Lakeshore Region) and Peter Simbi (Southern Region).

The authenticity of the letter is under dispute but the said Regional Chairmen have not disassociated the contents of the letter. If the membership of the 4 committees gets the 90 required, that means almost 360 delegates to the convention, which would give Mumba an edge as he seems to have people aligned to him being adopted, including himself, who is now Strategy Director for the North-South region.

Mumba’s rise to seek the number two position has seen old timers work extra time as he is seen to be close to President Chakwera’s family, with recent public photos confirming his association with the president’s firstborn son, Reverend Nick Chakwera, as they were photographed together in Serbia on what they called a private business trip.

Mumba is also alleged to have had a close association with the outgoing Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma that he escaped being investigated for financial impropriety. His rivals now allegedly plan to use the ACB and Police to investigate and arrest him.

“Chizuma was sent on leave, and they are looking for a cause to get him as soon as Chizuma is off the ACB. This would send the convention war to another level,” said a party insider.

Other contestants such as Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu, veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira, North North Regional Chairman Kezzie Msukwa, and others have muted campaigns that have shied away from public dirty linen.

Mkaka vs Chithyola as Chaima Banda escapes the tornado

Incumbent Einshower Mkaka, who had to be dropped from cabinet after allegations that he received a Mercedes Benz from Zuneth Sattar, looked like he had reached the end of his political career. Many party youths blame him and Chimwendo Banda for being inaccessible and failing to manage the party after it attained power.

SG Mkaka looks like he has reached the end of his political career.

But the two- now veterans of the MCP know how to work the party structure that Mkaka’s visibility has increased, and his ‘political and corruption sins’ now look like history. He could win another term. Chimwendo Banda has been everywhere, including Mangochi recently, which is traditionally a non-MCP area.

It is Chimwendo Banda getting the flack on behalf of old timers as his alleged property in Salima has been making rounds on social media, alleging that he has become richer than many in public service. The Investigator Magazine has requested cabinet ministers’ annual declarations at the Office of Assets Declaration, which is required by law.

Chithyola Banda’s campaign has been mainly through parliamentarians and non-current position holders

As if in direct response to Chimwendo Banda’s wealth revelations, Mkaka’s rival and leading contender for the post, Finance Minister Chithyola Banda, has seen his daughter’s face splashed on social media, alleging she has high-value vehicles registered to her name.

The Treasury gatekeeper is also accused of splashing millions of kwachas on his campaign, which allegedly includes accommodation and hefty allowances to possible delegates to the convention.

While Mkaka has an identifiable following, Chithyola Banda’s campaign has been mainly through parliamentarians and non-current position holders, which could be a challenge to influence the delegates who normally vote as a bloc.

As political dirty linen is being washed on Mkaka and Chithyola, another candidate Chris Chaima Banda who has an alleged corruption case over fuel supply contracts seems to have escaped the avalanche of new allegations that MCP rivals are vomiting on each other.

Chaima Banda could emerge the winner as Mkaka and Chithyola Banda get political bruises.

The ugly war; democracy or mobracy

Whilst the ruling party is engaged in bitter rivalry towards its elective conference, the personalisation of attacks and their venom could affect the party beyond convention that there is an urgent need for ground rules that include fair play, decency, and respect for one another.

“It is democracy when people can campaign freely without fear of being expelled, as in many opposition parties. That the MCP should be commended. But the ugly attacks and personal smear needs to be controlled. Whoever wins will carry the baggage as they face other parties,” our lead political analyst observed.

Another political commentator said it was the duty of President Chakwera to call for a peace summit and lay strict rules about people attacking each other, including the possibility of being withdrawn from the race if their supporters continue personal attacks.

“President Chakwera needs to show leadership at this moment. The MCP allegations and smear campaign is destroying the party. Even if one wins, they will emerge with dirt and tatters during the 2025 campaign and will bite the party hard,” said the commentator.

The MCP elective convention is slated for August this year.

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