MCP civil war for soul of party:  Malawi Congress Party thrown into disrepute

On August 11, 2013, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was elected leader of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) at the party’s National Convention held at the Natural Resources College (NRC) in Lilongwe. It is exactly three years now since the former clergyman became the MCP president to replace the long time Machiavellian Leader of Opposition John Zenus Ungapake Tembo.Loose cannon

He was the party’s presidential candidate in the May 20, 2014 tripartite elections where he came second, behind the incumbent Head of State, Arthur Peter Mutharika of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Dr. Chakwera, however, found some solace when he won a parliamentary seat to represent his Lilongwe North-west constituency. He became the Leader of Opposition owing to MCP’s status as the second largest party in Parliament.

There have now emerged some critical voices against Chakwera with a splinter group led by flamboyant businesswoman, Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma.

They are calling for Chakwera’s resignation, accusing him of lacking prerequisite leadership attributes to steer the party forward, nepotism and intolerance.

Both the mainstream and social have lately been awash with stories of political bickering and squabbling within the MCP and a permanent solution does not seem to come anytime soon.

With due respect to both warring sides and their respective opinions regarding the future of the MCP, I dare say the manner in which the ‘bickering’ and ‘squabbling’ are being done is shameful, to say the least.

The MCP is arguably the most firmly structured political party in Malawi. The MCP is credited for leading Malawi to political independence in 1964. Yes, the MCP has a functioning party constitution, which has been used before to make various major decisions affecting the party, including the election and removal of its leaders.

But the MCP is also not a stranger to unfortunate intra-party squabbling like what we are seeing today. The MCP, like many other political organizations in Malawi and abroad, are not immune to disagreements.

In such instances, what is important is how parties are able to successfully deal with infighting to ensure that they maintain the good image of the organization.

To cut a long story short, as a party that has survived decades of ups and downs, the MCP must be better placed to deal with internal differences in a more mature and amicable manner than the current wave of public denigration between the warring sides.

It is unthinkable that after merely three years, when Chakwera got an overwhelming nod from the MCP’s highest decision-making machinery, the National Convention, to lead the party in the post-Kamuzu Banda and JZU era, the same party would turn around and challenge him in this manner without any recourse to the internal conflict resolution mechanisms or, indeed, the party constitution.

It is unfortunate that the public ‘dirty-linen washing’ that has characterized the MCP over the few months has given rise to rumours of external forces interfering in the internal politics of the MCP in order to destabilize the opposition movement in Malawi. It is called divide-and-rule. The MCP has been thrown into disrepute and it’s now becoming a laughing stock.

Without giving credence to such rumour-mongering, I still dare say that if such tactics indeed exist to destabilize other parties in order to perpetuate some unpopular regime, the perpetrators have no business doing politics in multiparty Malawi.

It is becoming increasingly clear that some of the suspected perpetrators of the infighting in the MCP have upped their act to plant seeds of divisions in that party. Using the social and public media, these ill-minded people are clearly siding with the agents of disunity in the MCP, shamefully.

It is still imperative both warring sides in the MCP must quickly work out a permanent solution to their purported differences before the party is destabilized further by enemies of democracy.   As a political party, the MCP cannot afford to keep within its fold members that are pursuing other political parties’ interests. That would be utter suicide.

Some will argue that silence is the greatest threat to intra-party democracy and Dr. Chakwera must not abhor any public denunciation in as far as his alleged bad policies are concerned. True that; but washing dirty linen in public regarding your internal political party matters is even more dangerous. It disenfranchises the very fabric that holds the party, the grassroots supporters.

“A successful political party requires three things: strong values, a clear identity and policies that people regard as relevant and workable. The leader needs to embody those things.” – Lord Mandelson

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chimpeni james

Chakwera ndi Chitsiru, mchewa wa NYAU, imitating someone’s accent kusonyeza kuti ACHEWA ndi mtundu wotsalira, wa umbuli zedi monga Kamuzu amakana kulankhula his mothers language coz ndi mtundu wopusa, wogona, wovala visanza zobisa kumanda….kkkkkk

I always feel sorry for those who take Chakwera seriously. What I take is that most people don’t know Chakwera. You only needed to be under his leadership in church to understand that the guy is an illusion of himself. The leadership style he imposed on the church is the one he is using in MCP. Unfortunately, he has lost the nut! Everything is loose. MCP is now a religion and not a political party. My fellow learned friends now agree with me that MCP is just a white elephant. The little hope that some has is fast wading away.… Read more »

Why am I the only one that see cause of the muddy waters in MCP. Katumbu, (beaver) in order to confuse and easily catch fish first makes water dirty. This katumbu is tamed and has been put in MCP clear waters. As we move close to elections the beavers will come out and declare their allegiance to the DDP Caliphate. What MCP should do now is to isolate the beavers and ignore them. We all know this political caliphate will not live long. Its days are numbers. It is hanging by a thread.

Nzeru za yekha theorem
Nzeru za yekha theorem
Thom Chiumia,Please learn to call a spade a spade. Dr Chakwera has several issues to tackle to gain the favours he has lost. Why should you waste time to think that there are enemies of democracy behind their wrangles when you see Chakwera demoting and promoting party members without valid reasons and proper channel? He is an enemy of Democracy himself because he doesn’t want to hear from other people apart from his bootlickers. The Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma are not rebels but are seeing the ship sailing in a wrong direction. Why are officials running away from a convention let… Read more »

100% agree


Good piece of course but the attention should strongly go to the ruling party because they are the ones managing our taxes. We have nothing to do with MCP internal issues. DPP should tell us how they will resolve corruption, water shortage and persistent power blackouts.

Good piece! MCP leader needs to come out and address his followers. He has been too quiet on this matter for too long. Also, he needs to do some personal introspection – how has his leadership style contributed to the current problems within the party? Is he willing to let go of those relatives he has appointed into party positions? For long his relative Kamata has been the cause of many problems in the party but against everyone’s wishes he has clung to this guy? why? The way Chakwera has behaved himself from 2013 has been the cause of ALL… Read more »

This is the most objective and well put piece with valuable pieces of advice. This is what we call objectivity. Not what the mare hatred we usually see when writers such as Rudo Taruro and Dickson Kashoti open their mouths to spit venom on MCP. Keep this up and things will change.


Nice piece of writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

International Observer
International Observer
To be truthful, the problems MCP is experiencing today is nothing new. One could see this coming soon after the results from their party convention where Chakwera was ushered into power. Instead of him after winning taking into his fold Lovemore Munlo as his vice he decided otherwise. That done and dusted, he continues to make blunders today by everytime he takes to the political podium, instead of stressing on issues that will build the country’s consensus, Chakwera is busy bad mouthing other political leaders in and outside his party. One thing he is forgetting is that those he is… Read more »

You must be a confused guy…. Munlo Politically experienced? Where? Munlo spent most of his working life outside Malawi and came back during Bungu’s time to work in his government. And do u still believe a learned lawyer alwez makes a good leader? Then you either don’t live in Malawi or you are on heavy & illegal drugs becoz your President Munthalika is a Professor of Law, I guess he is taking this country to the right direction.

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