Blantyre — As the May 20 tripartite elections draw closer, 10 people have defected from the Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (MAFUNDE) to the ruling People's Party (PP).
The 10, led by former Secretary General of the party, Levison Ganiza, unveiled themselves at a meeting with President Joyce Banda at the Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Sunday.
The president said that in politics, every person was useful, adding that was why she would not prevent anyone from joining her party.
"You are home and there are many assignments for you in the party, especially during the campaign period," she said.
Ganiza told the President and PP National Executive (NEC) officials on camera that even though he ceased to be SG for the party on the day of the convention, other members pressurized him to lead them into joining a party that could address their needs which among others included financial support from the party to its aspirants.
"I have no authority to take any of the members anywhere but I have done so because of the pressure I was receiving from them immediately after the convention on January 30. I tried to reason with them to accept the outcome of the convention but they still insisted hence our coming here," he said.
Ganiza said those who had defected were not looking for positions in the PP, but rather looking forward to working with them. He said the president was free to give them any assignment during the campaign period.
"We are aware that all positions in the PP are filled, but I can assure you that everything you assign these people they will do it. Also bear in mind that I was behind the formulation of all regional committees and we all have their contacts," he said.
Ganiza said he was not ashamed to have gone to PP. He said there were many people who had defected, but had to carefully choose who to go with to Sanjika to avoid being blocked or disturbed as other people could not be trusted.
Grace Banda, an aspiring councilor for Luwinga ward in Mzuzu, said she had left MAFUNDE because she was not acknowledged and got no financial support for her candidature.
"I have been doing things on my own as if I am an independent candidate so I felt I'm not benefiting much from the party despite being a NEC member and being in the party for a long time," Banda said.
Eight of the 10 defectors were present at Sanjika while two were not. The eight were Levison Ganiza, Edda Mhango, Grace Banda, Doreen Banda, Alice Njerenje, Richard Banda, Andrew Ntokota and Joseph Shaba from Chiradzulu, Rumphi, Mzuzu, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Lilongwe, Thyolo and Kasungu respectively.
Joseph Office and Rose Jeleni of Mchinji and Nsanje respectively were not present.
PP NEC members including Brown Mpinganjira, Ken Msonda, Etinor Koloviko, Peter Tchupa, Isaac Nyakamera and Paul Maulidi witnessed the official welcoming meeting.