Political parties in the country have described the attractiveness that has followed the Reverend Lazarus Chakwera due to his election as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate as “mere excitement” that will not translate into votes.
Although there has been no official survey to gauge Chakwera’s popularity, the social media and the public sphere has been awash with discussions that point to his and MCP’s increased popularity.
Speaking in separate interviews, ruling People’s Party (PP), and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have dismissed suggestions that Chakwera is gaining popularity.
Said UDF publicist Ken Ndanga: “When we [UDF] had a convention there was a lot of euphoria. The same thing with PP and DPP. So there is nothing new with Chakwera’s case. This is temporary excitement that will go away.”
He said UDF is not threatened with Chakwera, stating that the party has its own “people centred” manifesto which will be unveiled soon.
Ndanga however noted that the coming in of Chakwera will offer the electorate a wider choice in the forthcoming presidential elections.
PP deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda also dismissed suggestions that the Joyce Banda administration might be threatened with the euphoria of Chakwera.
“He is not a game changer in Malawian politics. He may be a game changer to MCP but not to Malawian politics,” said Msonda.
“The game changer for Malawian politics is God. God is the one who made it possible for PP to take over government. So we are not threatened of him,” Msonda added/
He concurred with Ndanga on the excitement of Chakwera, saying “this is Chakweramania. It happens in politics; it happened before and soon the dust will settle.”
Commenting on Chakwera’s ideology of basing his politics on issues, Msonda said PP as a party has a similar ideology only that it might have a “few dirty players” with politics of personalities.
DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi cautioned the electorate to patiently wait on Chakwera if he will stand the test of time before making their decisions.
“There is nothing unusual with Chakwera’s election. The euphoria will die. It will fade away with political lethargy. Let’s wait and see if he will stand the test of time,” he warned.
A political scientist Henry Chingaipe, while admitting that the excitement will fade with time, said it might be an indicator that more people support him.
“People wanted change in MCP and Chakwera represents that change. His election explains that excitement. He might also represent change the country expects because his ideology is clear, at least as of now.
“But he may not have a walk over in next year’s elections because MCP is confined to the Central Region,” he said.
Chakwera was elected MCP president at a convention earlier this month where he beat 10 other contestants.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :