"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

UDF INDABA: Veep camp fears unrest

BY Vincent Phiri

12:33:25 - 21 April 2008

of Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha have expressed fears for violence
and intimidation from the opposing camp of UDF national chairman Baliki
Muluzi at the party’s convention scheduled for this Thursday.

Lawrence Chawanda, member of the Chilumpha camp, said in an interview
Sunday that there was tension in their camp following reports from the
Muluzi camp that violence was imminent if the former president fails at
the convention.

The convention is expected to endorse the party’s presidential candidate for next year’s general elections.

“Chilumpha has confirmed to us that he would attend the Thursday’s
convention but we are asking the party to ensure that there is tight
security because we are currently getting intimidation from the Muluzi

“It could be better if civil society organisations were invited to
monitor the elections at the convention to ensure that the process is
free, fair and transparent,” said Chawanda.

He claimed that some UDF governors who are supporting Chilumpha were
planning to boycott the convention because of intimidating remarks from
Muluzi’s faction.

Chawanda said Muluzi’s supporters have allegedly threatened to
manhandle them at the convention to ensure that Chilumpha loses the

But UDF Deputy Secretary General Hophmally Makande Thursday dismissed
reports that violence was imminent at the convention, saying the
elections would be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.

He said civil society organisations have been invited, including the
media to witness the convention hence an assurance that nobody would be

“These people are just trying to find a scapegoat because we have
invited civil society organisations, including the media to witness the

“It is also a lie that UDF supporters are intimidating the so called Chilumpha camp, that’s not true,” said Makande.

Rodgers Newa, founder of Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF), an
organisation that lobbies for free and fair governance, said in an
interview yesterday that UDF should desist from promoting violent
tendencies because it opened the race to all manner of people.

Newa said the civil society has no role to provide security at the UDF
convention but to ensure that the election process is free, fair and

“Civil society organisations cannot provide security at the UDF
convention but can be invited as independent observers. The party must
invite security officers like the police to ensure that tendencies of
violence are avoided before getting out of hand.

“I think the best security measure would be to conduct security checks
at the entrance to ensure that delegates do not enter the Comesa Hall
with any weapon,” said Newa.

Chilumpha and Muluzi are the only contenders for the presidential race
at the convention after UDF executive members like Brown Mpinganjira,
Friday Jumbe and a convicted Sam Mpasu pulled out of the race.

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