Tough race, tough fall: Chimunthu Banda and contest for DPP presidency

Henry Chimunthu Banda

Henry Chimunthu Banda

Political party conventions—once a luxurious event in Malawi’s nascent democracy—has recently gained number one spot in Malawi politics, thanks to Peoples Party (PP). Today, citeris paribus, we can add to PP such other political parties as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) if their public pronouncements in the recent past are anything to go by.

Such events, as is perhaps normal of a political party events, are not without a fair share of intrigues; the UDF’s Muluzi-Chilumpha molestation of democracy, remember?; the PP’s Joyce Banda botching of multipartysm, this one should be vivid given its recency, uhh!; and now the forthcoming DPP’s Mutharika-Chimunthu mad politicking, ooh No, experimentation of democracy on the 17th of April, 2013.

Political and social commentators, academicians, and keen followers of Malawi politics would most likely agree with this author that one thing is clear from political party conventions—power of money. Perhaps those of the contrary opinion would argue, however opinionated their argument may be, that such is an eternal reality of politics, or most realistically, life in its entirety. Accepted, it is however still senseless to assume that dictates of corrupting power of money has insurmountable influence towards peoples’ choices where such people are empowered educationally, politically, and socio-economically.

But yet, sadly of course, that seems to be the order of the day in politics elsewhere in the world. And locally, my-vote-is-for-moneyed-candidate mentality has reached crisis levels with those financially-gifted almost always winning not due to articulation of facts but dangling of carrots in the name of coffins and handouts.

It is when you factor in the above that you know, almost with ultimate certainty, that given contestants A and B, A is nine out of ten likely to carry the day because of ‘charitable’ donations to party loyalists and/or delegates.

One does not need to be TB Joshua to prophesy the results in a political party event; all one needs is to analyze the money-thing in candidates. Predictably, that is why the majority saw Bakili Muluzi winning to Cassim Chilumpha. Similarly, it was not news when the sole contender in the PP convention dramatically chickened out of the contest and president Joyce Banda won (got rubberstamped?) as PP’s presidential torchbearer. And the DPP convention is no exception to this arrangement, nor will the MCP.

Cut loose, even a standard one pupil would know that chances are ninety-nine percent in favour of Peter Mutharika in the 17th April DPP convention.

The ‘because’ of young Mutharika winning is just clear—power of money. For doubting Thomases, probably the recent media reports of some DPP governors giving their support to Peter Mutharika prior to the convention will do. If, and this is only ‘if’, the calm Chimunthu Banda had money and that he too had dangled that-which-has-governors-pledging-allegiance to some notable and influential kingmakers, perhaps then we would have expected an unpredictable outcomes from the DPP convention. But alas, that is not it.

As for the MCP, John Tembo, despite his aging body and political ideologies, would most likely emerge the winner to his contender, be him the media politician Chris Daza or whoever else.

It is at this point that it becomes clear that Malawian politics, unlike in advanced democracies, politics of names, carrots, and emotionally-charged diatribes is likely to make one a ruler than politics of issues, vision, and measured discourse. Money, in Malawi politics, is the iron fist to hardknocking political opponents, both within and outside political parties.

Regrettably, this political degeneration has found a warm welcome in university corridors where instead of being champions of modern participative and issue-based democracy students have tended to sacrifice their reasoning ingenuity at the altar of masochism and political opportunism.

Consequently, university students have ceased to be the beacon of democratic progress and progressive thinking but puppets of sadists and destroyers of past political gains.

And added to this, the local masses have quietly accepted politics of handouts so much so that the names that ring in their ears are of only those that game them the miserable vote-for-me gift.

Guided by the foregoing and mindful of uncivilized nature of politics, the author hastens to state that in the forthcoming DPP convention, Chimunthu Banda, the contender in the tough race for the party’s highest position against Peter Mutharika, will most certainly fall a tough fall, just like then UDF’s Cassim Chilumpha before him and MCP’s Chris Daza after him. And that the author bets.

You may be asking, “Why would that be so?” And those in the know would respond, “…because the guys did/do not have money to dangle or a selling name to display”. Chimunthu will lose not that he does not have issues, though it is doubtful he has any, but because he has no money.

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