This time I am focused on politics. And in politics perception that matters. President Peter Mutharika carried out a Cabinet reshuffle, rather a Cabinet shifting the other day, the results did not make sense, a lawyer went to look after our chickens, fish and crops, an engineer was moved to baby sit our foreign links. We also saw a volleyball fanatic minding our security and being entrusted to hunt albino killers.
The only fresh thing was Akweni, our most beautiful and kind hearted politician is back. Patricia Kaliati is our own brand of mother Malawi. Returning for the third time to the Ministry of Propaganda and Disinformation, she is invicible, very few would pick her even for parliamentary debate. Men cower at the site of Akweni. She is also the most humane politician!
Let’s go to another reshuffle. Dr. Jessie Kabwira is the MCP’s Akweni. She does not mince words, neither does she have a heart of a coward. For MCP a party known for its oppression of women by reducing them to shake their bottoms, Dr Kabwira is in the league of the few great women of MCP like Eddah Chitalo, Rose Chibambo and Kate Kainja.
MCP due to its chauvinistic primaries and lack of pro-women policy ended up with 5 lady MPs in 2014, the least only comparable to UDF but a shame for a party with largest number of MPs directly elected. The front bench at the start of Parliament has Khumbize Nkhoma and Dr Kabwira. Today as you read MCP fresh blood leader is confident that Dr. Kabwira will better sit at the back, despite being number nine in the party hierarchy. Khumbize is nowhere near Kabwira in party ranks but she seats in front.
Now perception is important. Dr. Kabwira moving has nothing to do with reshuffle that makes sense, it is sort of how MCP operates. Rumours and gossip about you gets you shifted around. Late Ishmael Chafukira once a powerful spokesperson found himself in the same shoes. To us political historians find it nothing strange.
Unfortunately demoralising and demonising Kabwira, MCP has lost a voice which was progressive, militant and helped to rebrand the party to something better. If we have credible polls on online outreach, Jessie Kabwira has influence, now she will have to learn MCP four corner stones, dance to Dr. Laz and boot lick party cadres if she has to remain MCP candidate for Salima North East. A shame to MCP. A shame to those that claim MCP is ready to empower women. One female is in MCP cabinet ha ha ha ha ha!
The issue is about intra-party democracy. We are increasingly establishing a strong culture of autocracy in the running of our political parties. One who becomes party president becomes the alpha and the omega for that party – everything starts and ends with him or her.
He or she appoints everyone, apart from himself or herself. Sometimes, he or she even appoints oneself to be in charge of this or that. We are establishing a political culture of excessive patronage where everyone has to suck up to one person, one leader. It seems to be very difficult in this country to have a political party with more leaders of substance and independence in one organisation. Yet, the credibility of any political party should be measured by how many leaders of substance it has in its midst. This is so because with autocracy, leaders of substance and of independent minds can’t be tolerated. In the end, all our parties end up with leaders who singlehandedly appoint everyone else and decide everything else.
Anyone who dares to challenge such leaders ends up being expelled or totally marginalised. Kabwira and Felix Jumbe are good case studies.
In no time, the leaders of our political parties, no matter how progressive they might have started off, become little demigods who enjoy listening to tales of how intelligent, popular and so on and so forth they are. Anyone who tells them anything to the contrary; anyone who questions their wisdom and decisions becomes an enemy who must be isolated and crushed. So ultimately, they end up being surrounded by buffoons, idiots, liars and crooks of all hues, of all shades and stripes. By the time these leaders realise that they have lost it, there is no time for correction.
The late Bingus sad ending from his brightest position should remind us so. Even Bakili Muluzis ill fated third term attempts fit in hear. Joyce Banda’s option of Gwengwe is another that led to her downfall.
Let us agree we have been very careless as a nation, as a people when it comes to choosing leaders. We have not hesitated to choose, vote for people we don’t know or we hardly know to become our leaders.
Our political parties are not doing well, and us as a nation are not doing well because of this carelessness in choosing our leaders. Leadership is very vital to the future of any political party or indeed of the nation at large. But look at the attention we pay and the importance we attach to choosing leaders! When 2017 comes we will all be speculating who will be what.
Today, there are people in the opposition who strongly believe they can win the 2019 elections because the DPP is despised. This is a wrong and very dangerous way of looking at things. One should win elections because they are understood, supported, trusted.
We have developed a strange type of democracy where every five years, voters are expected to vote for people they don’t know or hardly know. This doesn’t make sense. We have established a system where true knowledge of someone, their beliefs and character don’t matter; it’s just a question of handouts and tribalism.
It is this carelessness that made us end up being ruled by a Joyce Banda after the death of Bingu, cash gate and unreasonable devaluation of the kwacha was the bonus we got from our investment. The same can be said of Bingu who later turned to be a pleasant surprise. If the process was really open and truly democratic, there is no way this country would have been ruled by a JB or by Bingu.
Dzuka Malawi! But we don’t seem to learn historical lessons. Look at the way the MCP, PP and UDF and others are handling this same issue of people like Jessie Kabwira, Reverend Mzomera Ngwira and Lucius Banda respectively – recklessly, carelessly, irresponsibly, and dangerously that by 2019 Dr. Lazarus Chakwera will be worshipped and behave like any other politician we have despised before.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :