The Alliance for Democracy –(Aford) has introduced a K10 party membership card as party leader Enock Chihana, Aford’s sole member of Parliament (MP) in the 193-member National Assembly, has embarked on a process of rebuilding it.
Paid up party membership cards were synonymous with the one party regime as membership was forced on all citizens of the country and one was refused services without the card.The strategy made the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) unpopular.
But a research commissioned by the Center for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) established that Malawians want political parties to introduce party membership .
A ford secretary general Christopher Ritchi confirmed that his party has introduced the memberships cards and that money collected will be used to fund party activities
Ritchi said Aford wasn’t to reclaim old glory when it used to control northern region as it claimed all the 33 parliamentary seats in the region and some in the Central Region in the country’s first post-independence multiparty general elections in 1994.
“Aford is rebuilding to be back to its glory as a power broker that can negotiate for development in the north,” he said.
Aford president Chihana is also advancing federalism agenda and has recently roped in new members who included former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MP and Cabinet minister Abbie Shaba, Chipani cha Fuko vice-president Burton Siyonani-Phiri and Professor Fred Msiska of Mzuzu University, among others.
University of Malawi associate professor of political science Blessings Chinsinga commedned Chihana for taking “ the right approach” to start rebuilding the party from the Northern Region where it once enjoyed support,
On the membership cards, Chinsinga said it is “a perfect idea” but called for the leadership to be transparent with the money .
Chinsinga carried a study which revealed that a lot of Malawians would want to have a party membership card.
The research was conducted in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay in the north; Kasungu, Salima and Ntcheu in the centre; and Zomba, Machinga, Blantyre and Mwanza in the south.
The current scenario, Chinsinga pointed out, have placed parties at the mercy of individual leaders who are seen as the owners of political parties.