Peoples Party heavyweights lick their wounds and accept loss
As the People’s Party (PP) convention spilled into the second and final day on Tuesday, major electoral casualties Brown Mpinganjira and Clement Stambuli licked their wounds and said their failure demonstrates the people’s will.
Analyst and associate professor of political science Blessings Chinsinga said the election of new faces into the PP national executive committee indicates that democracy is at play in the party.
The convention saw prominent founding members such as Mpinganjira, Stambuli and Paul Maulidi failing to win positions they were vying for.
Mpinganjira lost to Minister of Transport and Public Works Sidik Mia on the position of vice-president responsible for administration whereas Stambuli tumbled against Energy and Mining Minister Cassim Chilumpha who recently ditched UDF where he was chairperson of a splinter group.
Maulidi failed to unseat secretary general Henry Chibwana.
Mpinganjira, who got only 272 votes against Mia’s 1 711, accepted the results with humility, saying he is not bitter with the loss.
“Bitterness, no; everyone would be a bit disappointed to lose,” said Mpinganjira who insisted that in any competition, one expects to win or lose.
“You accept that in advance. I thought I would win [but] I did not and I have accepted the results,” he said.
On whether he lost because his competitor amassed undue advantage due to the sponsorship President Joyce Banda acknowledged from the Mia family in her keynote address, Mpinganjira said: “Only the voters can answer that question.”
He, however, pledged to continue working with the party as an ordinary member, saying it is his responsibility to develop the party.
Mia, in an interview, said he is happy with the win and he brushed aside assertions that President Banda’s remarks that his wife decorated the marquee and also fed the delegates might have influenced voters.
“This is a landslide victory. This shows confidence delegates have in me,” he said. “Everywhere else, people know about me and what I intended to do as a politician.”
Another giant who fell at the convention, Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa, also accepted the results and said he does not harbour any ill feelings.
“I congratulate Dr. Cassim Chilumpha. Malawians have decided and I have to accept the results. I knew that one will be winning. It could have been me or somebody else,” said Mussa who came third in the race that pitched him against Chilumpha and Stambuli, among others.
Stambuli, who came second to Chilumpha, also conceded defeat.
“People have voted. One candidate has won. Chilumpha has won. Why should I be bitter?”
Chinsinga said he sees no problem with the founding fathers losing their seats at the convention.
He said the winning of the new members simply shows that they are popular and legitimate among the party followers.
Said Chinsinga: “As long as the winning of the new members is according to the will of the people, then there is no issue because it is all about democracy and accountability. The people matter most and they have made their decision at the convention.”
Chinsinga said so long as the playing field was level and the contestants were given an equal platform to campaign, there is nothing unusual with some party founders losing their seats.
Meanwhile, former president of the Congress for Democrats (Code) Ralph Kasambara is now the new People’s Party (PP) national director of legal affairs.
Kasambara won the seat unopposed following the withdrawal of veteran lawyer Bazuka Mhango.
Henry Phoya is the first deputy national legal director. His challenger, Chipiliro Mpinganjira, withdrew from the position and instead was voted as the third deputy legal director.
Maulidi, who held the position of director of legal affairs since the inception of the party, now occupies the position of second legal deputy director.
Former UDF guru Hophmally Makande shot to the PP publicity secretary position, beating Steve Mwenye and Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu.