Alliance for Democracy (Aford) has said much as the Coronavirus pandemic has hit hard and continues to rock the country, it is hopeful and ready to hold its national elective convention sometime this year.
Aford - a governing Tonse Alliance partner - has for the past two years been marred by intraparty instability that was fuelled by "cacophonous" conventions in 2018--prior to the 2019 tripartite elections.
Then, Enock Chakufwa Chihana, the current president, and versatile politician and UTM publicity secretary Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo had battled out for the party's presidency but had disagreed on the issue of "legitimate" delegates.
The result was that both camps had a list of who they thought were the eligible voters at the convention.
Nyasa Times reported of Aford's two conventions with Mwenifumbo being elected at one held at Golden Peacock Hotel and Chihana being elected at another at Don Bosco Technical Institute.
Justice Charles Mkandawire later nullified both conventions and gave the party time to go back to the drawing board and prepare for a fresh convention.
But, again, the fresh convention at Don Bosco Technical Institute in May 2018 was not successful as Mwenifumbo suspected tampering of delegates by Chihana's team and thus refused to participate in the voting process.
Chihana, son to political czar and trade unionist, has been at the helm of the party ever since.
'2021 elective indaba'
According to Chihana, the Aford house was in order and they were "more than prepared" to go for the "long awaited" elective convention.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic was derailing their plans but said, on the other hand, they had made headway progress in putting the house in order.
"Aford has been going through a lot of chaos, but I am happy that we are now good to go. We intend to hold our elective convention before the end of this year," said Chihana in an interview with Nyasa Times on Saturday when the party roped members into temporary positions at its national headquarters in Lilongwe.
About 23 were appointed to the positions, and Chihana said this was healthy for the party as it would help in filling the gaps and "aid the smooth running of the party."
He said: "We can't be going to the convention in tatters. We needed to make sure all positions are filled. It will ease our planning ahead of the convention."
Some of the members that have been roped into positions include Elias Wakuda Kamanga as deputy secretary general, Bertha Masiku as director of women and Patricia Mzumara as deputy publicity secretary.
But political commentator George Phiri was worried that the idea of merely appointing people into positions was not healthy for Aford.
"It has the possibility of tearing the party apart because the members, for sure, had no say on the appointments, just a few of the party's leaders," said Phiri.