BLANTYRE, Malawi — Delegates to the convention of Malawi's ruling People's Party, or P.P., on Monday endorsed President Joyce Banda and her vice president for operations, Khumbo Kachale. The rest of the 83 party positions will be decided on Tuesday.
President Banda’s endorsement follows the late withdrawal of her only challenger, businessman Ceaser Fatchi, who pulled out after he failed to meet the registration deadline. No one ran against Vice President Khumbo Kachale.
After her party's endorsement, President Banda wished her former challenger well. “Two days ago, I heard that there was somebody competing with me. So as I have always promised before, I asked leaders in the P.P. to come along to compete with me, and I had also promised this nation that if somebody else won, I would work with that person to build the party. Today, I have been told that he has decided to withdraw and I wish him well,” Banda said.
President Banda who was ranked the most powerful woman in Africa on Forbes magazine's list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, promised to do her best for Malawi.
“All I can promise Malawians is that I will work very hard to make sure that I don’t disappoint those that have made these decisions,” Banda said.
Malawi's former vice president, Cassim Chilumpha, who was a member of the United Democratic Front, or UDF, was elected as the ruling party’s second vice president responsible for political affairs. He defeated cabinet minister Uladi Mussa and the party founding member Clement Stambuli.
Another cabinet minister, Sidick Mia, who joined the People's Party from the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, won the position of third vice president responsible for administration, defeating another founding executive member Brown Mpinganjira.
The party’s secretary general, Henry Chibwana, retained his position after defeating Paul Maulidi.
Local media reports had indicated that some founding members of the People's Party were not happy with the new members, particularly those from the former ruling DPP and UDF, fearing they would take over the P.P.