By Mandy Pondani:
Opposition Alliance for Democracy (Aford) has disowned its Member of Parliament (MP) for Karonga Central Constituency, Frank Mwenifumbo, a few days after he was unveiled by United Democratic Front (UDF) president, Atupele Muluzi, as his running mate for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
But Mwenifumbo insists he is still Aford, despite the party’s spokesperson, Khumbo Mwaungulu, accusing him of betrayal.
Mwenifumbo Sunday said he would not relinquish his Aford membership, arguing that he has not signed any alliance document with UDF.
He described his political affair with Muluzi as a working partnership aimed at winning the State presidency.
“I am Aford! UDF has recognised me with due respect as a member of Aford. During my meeting with honourable Muluzi, he told me that I am not joining UDF but rather we are entering into a working partnership of winning the [State] presidency and not an alliance,” Mwenifumbo said.
He said, prior to partnering Muluzi, the UDF leader informed Aford president, Enoch Chihana, about the partnership.
Muluzi is Health Minister in the Peter Mutharika administration.
“They discussed at length on the phone. Muluzi told Chihana of his intention to pick me. I cannot say that Chihana approved or not but, after my unveiling, I got a call from him congratulating me for the appointment,” Mwenifumbo said.
But Mwaungulu has trashed Mwenifumbo’s assertions, saying, by accepting UDF’s offer, he automatically relinquished his Aford membership.
He said Mwenifumbo does not have the party’s or Chihana’s blessings on his new move which, he said, was done behind their back despite Aford National Executive Committee agreeing to work with UTM.
“Congratulating him does not mean the president blessed his partnership with Muluzi. It is just a matter of wishing him well as he pursues his other political aspirations. Otherwise, he had everyone’s blessing when he declared his candidacy on Aford ticket,” Mwaungulu said.
Asked if the development will not confuse the party’s electoral base, Mwaungulu said: “We don’t expect this to confuse anyone because Mwenifumbo has got nothing to do with Aford. He is protecting his interests because he presented his nomination papers on Aford’s ticket. Otherwise, it is him who is confused.”
UDF spokesperson, Ken Ndanga, said Malawians should take Mwenifumbo’s word and that the party is committed to keeping its side of the bargain.
Apparently, Mwenifumbo has disclosed that one of the conditions for his partnership with Muluzi is that, should they ascend to power, Muluzi will abolish the quota system on his day of inauguration.