It never rains but it pours for the 2012 men Ijtmah organising committee as two rival camps are tussling over the guest of honour.
According to the information gathered by Malawi Muslims Official Website, members in the committee are failing to agree on who will be the guest of honour between Malawi’s State President Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda and former President Bakili Muluzi.
All members in the committee had initially proposed to invite the State President to grace the event which was scheduled to take place in September this year.
However, reports reaching this website indicate that another rival camp has emerged to fight against the initial proposal because they have not yet received any support from the government hence, the reason to push for the shifting of the event to October 5 in order to give a chance to Muluzi who is currently in South Africa for medical treatment to attend.
Malawi Muslims Official Website can reveal that the other faction approached the former president to assist them financially, in the process promising him that the committee will try its best to sell his loved son Honourable Atupele Muluzi who is eyeing for the 2014 presidency under the UDF ticket.
Muluzi has since contributed K4 million as part of the ijtmah’s budget.
In fact, this is the first time for the former President (a Muslim) to contribute such huge amount to the Muslims’ annual gathering, a thing that is raising more questions than answers.
To fulfil their motives, the rival camp is allegedly planning to make the former president’s son Atupele Muluzi as a guest of honour should his father fail to attend the function.
“Yes, I can confirm that we have a slight misunderstanding on who will be the guest of honour. Those who belong to the ruling People’s Party [PP] wants President Mrs Joyce Banda to come while fanatics of the former ruling United Democratic Front [UDF] are for the former president or his son. But the sad thing is that it seems like the Ijtma is now more less like a political platform than a religious event. And, this can be witnessed by looking at the previous functions where most of the people who are invited to grace the event are politicians,” confirmed a well placed source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
This year’s ijtmah is expected to take place at Kamuzu Stadium with a budget pegged at K8 million of which half of it, is the one contributed by the former president. However, the most worrisome thing is that the committee has not yet reached the target.
“We are remaining with about 1 if not 2 million for us to meet the required budget,” said the source.
Last year, the ijtmah failed to take place because of the same issue as two rival camps also emerged – with one supporting the then President late Bingu wa Mutharika while the other calling for the invitation of Dr Bakili Muluzi to be guest of honour.