Any constitutional democracy cannot stand a test of time if none of the structures that must guard against the almost omnipresent tendency of the executive to amass more power works to satisfaction. Thus any constructive talk about the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)must be viewed in that context as an endeavour to strengthen the checks and balances for the benefit of Malawi’s constitutional democracy.
In this note focus is on the current wrangles in the party, their potential sources, how they may be an opportunity or a threat to the party, a stern warning to party members, sympathisers, admirers and onlookers, and a possible way forward.
The current wrangles
The altercations in the party at present appear to have affected a number of people some of whom include Ms Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma, Felix Jumbe, Gustav Kaliwo, Jessie Kabwira among others. The issues surrounding their expulsion or suspension of course are not known with all clarity but at least for Jumbe and Chatinkha, one notes that there was fervent disregard of party structures in their endeavour to register their dissatisfaction with whatever manners in which the party was being run.
I remember seeing Hon Felix Jumbe and Chatinkha on MBC TV vilifying the same party they allegedly represented. Obviously the result of those acts the NEC fired them and their firing may be confirmed by a convention if it were to be held soon, and specifically before six months after the NEC’s decision.
Their Potential Sources
It would appear that the sources of the current unrest in MCP are threefold namely, the external factors, internal factors and a combination of the two. Of these sources, the major and most worrying source is the external source because the party’s ability to deal with those is a bit limited given the chaotic criminal justice system that we have at present. As an example of the external factors, the DPP establishment has been mentioned many times as the major cause of this unrest.
The DPP is constantly abusing government resources at this material time when many are hunger stricken, sick and cannot earn a decent education by giving it out to seemingly money hungry and gullible members of the MCP to destabilize the party. The strategy is to incite some of the members especially those close to leadership to revolt against the current president, in exchange for money, government contracts or agreements about business ventures.
Internally, the problems appear to emanate from every Jim and Jack’s desire for power. Most people appear wanting to be in better positions than they currently are and this brings in jealousy, pull-him-down cases, and a general lack of help for each other. It shouldn’t be that way. Lastly then there appears to be an attempt by the external forces to now even take advantage of those internal egoistic personae to feed them more with pride, anger and rebellion.
As a party and party member, you need to censure yourselves in your wisdom and change. You will be leaders at the right time and its impossible for all of you to lead at the same time in the same positions. How they May be an Opportunity or a Threat to the Party What is important for MCP is to understand that the wrangles as they are can be turned into good. For one thing, the fact that many people are interested in talking about these problems is testament to the idea that perhaps the MCP is a truly potential alternative government.
The most important thing that differentiates today from the past is that, for the first time in Malawi history we have on the throne a president who doesn’t know what he should be doing in his position, except to dream of a second term. These squabbles can be an eye opener to the public that the sponsor of such rebellion i.e the DPP is not interested in developing the country but rather to take everyone hostage. The onus is on the MCP to tell this to the world, to the CSOs, to the Development Partners (who appear to just stand and watch the ruling party butcher all democracy institutions) and indeed to the private sector, that the DPP is the outright culprit compelled by the approaching elections defeat following their mediocre performance as a government.
Many of us know that the current government has brought vociferous misery and tribulation among not only the poor, but even among those just emerging from poverty. Malawi’s economic stance has deteriorated significantly from the pre-1994, and -2014 periods. Economic growth in real terms has stagnated relative to the past, the Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). At present, inflation rates are in the orders of above 20 %, interest rates at commercial banks have soared to more than 35% , the exchange rate has deteriorated to close to 1000 MK per US$ leading to a significant erosion of household incomes and per capita growth rates have gone negative.
- Milika Benjamin student studying political science with Mahatmagandi university .