The big question in this entry is: “if it were not for themselves, who would the presidential candidates envisage to bag the presidency in the May 20 elections?”
Stubborn fact: there will be – and there can only be – one President at a time!
When it comes to that, one of the things I keep thinking about when I deeply attempt a mental picture of the May 20 elections in Malawi is “who would each of the strong presidential contenders wish won the elections apart from themselves?” You will probably agree with me that at some point, each of the strong contenders for the presidency i.e. Joyce Banda, Lazarus Chakwera, Atupele Muluzi and Peter Mutharika do think about “what if I lose the election for the presidency”. I further think that once they think that, they think of who should win if it’s not them.
I would like, in this entry, to attempt going into their minds and try to get an “answer off them”. Probably crazy thinking, but hey, who said it cannot be done?
So here we go and I tackle them in alphabetical order based on their surnames: –
Banda, Joyce (JB)
Who would JB wish to win the elections if it were not her? My straight forward answer to this is that JB would want Lazarus Chakwera (LC) to win this election if she did not bag it herself. My thinking is that she would view LC as a much lesser evil than Peter Arthur Mutharika and Austin Atupele Muluzi. It would be probably right to think that JB would view Peter Mutharika as a “possible enemy” – if anything the state, which she heads, has bones and beef to pick with Peter Mutharika, he is accused of having been part of the team that did not want her to ascend to the presidency when April 5, 2012 happened. Further to this, she would probably be within range if she thinks that Peter may want to make her “run-around” a little if he, Peter, bagged the presidency because the state, which she heads, has made Peter “run around” a little on other things other than the fact that Peter is viewed as having been in the forefront trying to circumvent the “rule of law” when president Bingu wa Mutharika died in office.
Austin Atupele Muluzi may also pose as a little disturbance if he became President other than JB to JB’s retirement. While JB’s government has been significantly even handed against the senior Muluzi over his MK1.7bn case, the state machinery has had attempts at thwarting the young Muluzi from standing in this election. I do recall Uladi “Chenji-golo” Mussa going to town about AAM’s age. Then there were questions about some contract issues at Ministry of Economic Planning and Development when he, AAM, was Minister there. The state, almost, accused the young Muluzi of having had a hand in some contract that went haywire.
Chakwera, Lazarus (LC)
If it were not him, who would LC imagine as President of the country? This is very difficult to predict because MCP has been out of Government ever since we embraced political pluralism and democracy as a way of governing our state affairs. Added to this, LC is fairly new to the political scene in the country and so he may not really have significant grudges with any of the presidential aspirants.
However, I cannot imagine LC imagining JB’s continued occupancy of State House. He has, almost, called the manner in which she is handling state affairs as childish. I remember vividly LC giving an example of the jet-sale scandal to underline his point of this government being, well, a little childish.
He has, also, thinly veiled his “disgust” at what the UDF and DPP governments did to this nation.
On a balance of probabilities, it is possible though that LC thinks DPP is in real contention in this election with a real chance of bagging the presidency when viewed from the regional voting patterns of the electorate.
Added to this, DPP poses the quickest alternative to PP’s policies if people choose to reject MCP, again. So while LC may not really wish for a Peter Mutharika Presidency, I can argue that he, probably, gives him (Peter) a realistic chance of winning the presidency if MCP is rejected by the electorate.
I do not see how, in all manner and style, LC can envisage an Austin Atupele Muluzi Presidency. Of course, I could be very wrong on this.
Muluzi, Austin Atupele (AAM)
It is also difficult, but not as difficult as LC’s mind, to predict AAM’s thoughts on who should bag the presidency if it is not the young Muluzi himself. He probably would wish for anyone but then, he probably has been the toughest on JB’s Government in terms of analyzing it and saying that Government/State affairs are not running properly. He has even gone ahead to slam the machinery, to which he was part and parcel for sometime, regarding its priorities. I do not see how he would imagine JB continuing.
DPP and UDF, especially during Bingu’s first term in office, had a very rocky relationship. It is not a secret that Bingu went into the presidency on a UDF ticket and Muluzi senior did the selling of “Bingu”. Once sold, they did not realize the expected profit, actually the sale of Bingu proved the biggest political loss to UDF. I do not see how that can play positively on AAM’s mind and therefore wishing for a Peter Mutharika presidency.
On a balance of probabilities, I see AAM a little more comfortable with a Lazarus Chakwera presidency.
Mutharika, Arthur Peter (APM)
In the life of me, I do not see, ever, APM imaging JB continuing at State House. I have stated some of the reasons under JB’s wish. Added to this, I do not see APM being sympathetic to JB’s campaign because PP seems to be quite a child of DPP’s mischievous behavior of ill-treating Vice Presidents. So literally, when DPP sees PP, they see a notorious “child” born out of “frustration” from ill-treating JB as Vice President.
Additively, I’m sure, when DPP views PP, they see a bunch of political dissemblers having deserted the party at the time they needed their people the most. It is common knowledge that most of the (senior) people in PP ran away from DPP even before Bingu’s remains “went cold” and were respectfully interred at Mpumulo wa Bata. I do not see how APM would wish a party made of people, probably viewed in the manner I suggest, to continue in Government.
Further, I don’t quite think APM would view AAM as ready for governing. He probably would view him as a “baby” and only rushing into serious political ambition.
On a serious balance of probabilities, APM would also be more comfortable with a Lazarus Chakwera presidency, if it is not him bagging it.
So, among the four heavy weights contending for the Presidency, I see three of them warming up to a Lazarus Chakwera presidency i.e. JB, AAM and APM and I only see LC giving APM a real chance to bag it compared to JB and AAM. None of the other presidential candidates, in my view, really warm up the thought of JB continuing or indeed an AAM presidency
- Isaac Cheke Ziba: A free thinker and Social Development Scientist
- Disclaimer: If you think this is crazy, then it is in the title, “Malawi elections: thinking crazy”.