Citizens for Progressive Action leader quits Umodzi Party

By Duncan Mlanjira

Pemphero Mphande, leader for the Citizens for Progressive Action, a grouping of young activists who came to the fore last year when they protested the election on Indian legend Mahatma Gandhi’s status in Blantyre, has resigned as National Youth Director of the Umodzi Party.

In a letter to the party’s Professor John Chisi dated 3rd November, 2019, Mphande says cites his role in activism as reasons for quitting politics.

When he was director of the youth

“I write to you to officially inform you that I intend to quit politics indefinitely because of my role in activism and that I’m now a leader in a movement of young people under Citizens for Progressive Action,” says the letter to Chisi.

“It brings in a conflict of interest. I therefore submit my resignation as of today as the National Youth Director officially elected on the 28th of September, 2018 in Blantyre at Motel Paradise by Malawians under Umodzi Party. 

“In my time as the Director of Youth, I have led a huge movement of youth across the country holding rallies and meetings across the country. 

Umodzi Party president John Chisi

“Together with Miss Towela Chisi, we attracted a lot of young people to the party and successfully wrote our 2019 Manifesto under your leadership. 

“It has been an honor to serve the party under this role. I believe I have done my part will remain a member of the party albeit in an inactive role and will contest again for any leadership position should I decide to rejoin politics in future. 

“I wish the party all the best and I remain hopeful that the manifesto we have is one of the best to lead this country into prosperity.

“I will now shift my attention to philanthropy and activism in trying to give to mobilize community efforts to support the needy and hold our government accountable. 

“I wanted to thank you for taking me in, mentoring me and trusting me with key leadership positions in the party when I was only 25. 

“That is the leadership we want where young people have a place at the big table. I wish you all the best personally as you work to improve our party and contribute to a better Malawi.”

Last Friday, Mphande’s Citizens for Progressive Action held a vigil at the Indian High Commission offices in Lilongwe in protest of the continued stand by the Indian government to elect a statue of Mahatma Gandhi despite that the protest issue is still in court.

However, the Indian High Commission refused to receive the petition by Mphande says they are unperturbed that the petition was  rejected since it was delivered to Lilongwe City Council, who will pass it on to the Indian High Commission.

The petition reminds the Indian High Commission that the group, under the ‘Gandhi Statue Must Fall Movement’, obtained an injunction to stop erection of the statue in Blantyre at Ginnery Corner but were surprised to learn of them changing plans to elect it at the would-be Mahatma Gandhi International Conference Center in Lilongwe.

The petition says if their demands are not met, the group will continue to hold more and bigger vigils and will also concurrently take other courses of action to mobilise the wider citizens of Malawi to reject the statue of Gandhi.

“We are giving you 7 days to respond to this, failing which we will announce the next course of action on behalf of Malawians against Gandhi statue,” says the petition.