There are two things which are very worrisome and terribly suspicious on how Ben Phiri has continuously received unrelenting attacks from Z Allan Ntata to the point of resigning – whether a tactical or real resignation. Let me get straight to my points.
The first worrisome and suspicious thing, is that the militant DPP youths wing, commonly referred to as the Cadets, have right from the beginning pretended not to notice that their party’s high ranking official and colleague in the youths wing, Ben Phiri, was getting severely bruised by Ntata. Even further suspicious is that at some point, Ntata has not spared even President Peter Mutharika. But still, this did not move the cadets, even an inch, to defend the President from Ntata. It seems that, as long as Ntata was attacking the President with regards to his relationship with Ben Phiri, the cadets did not really care.
The second is that a couple of anonymous individuals, under pseudo identities, clearly from among the Cadets, attempted to defend the honour of Ben Phiri. These were not just mere Cadets because a mere Cadet would not dare to publish an article on DPP’s Malawi Voice to defend Ben Phiri. Those that attempted to defend him are obviously part of the DPP and probably government propaganda machinery. But the worrisome and suspicious thing about these guys is how they miserably failed to neutralize one guy, Ntata, and protect both Ben Phiri and the President, even with all resources at their disposal. As a matter of fact, their effort went unrecognized in the media.
What am I driving at? What has happened so far is very important for both Ben Phiri and the DPP. Ben Phiri needs to reflect seriously on why the DPP Cadets, whom he himself recruited and tutored into Cadet-ism, left him to suffer brutally and alone at the hands of Ntata.
DPP Cadets are the most organized, enthusiastic, and the most intelligent youths of all youths in Political Parties. The Cadets would not have failed to shield Ben Phiri from Ntata. But their failure to shield him, and strike Ntata on his behalf only means two things: either, Cadets enjoyed that Ntata was bruising Ben Phiri, in which case, they agree with him, and they feel for some reason that Ben Phiri deserves the beating from Ntata. And of course, their failure even to defend the President, means Cadets too, disapprove of the relationship between Ben Phiri and the President. Or Cadets fear Ntata, and consider him not their match. But given my experience, I don’t think Cadets fear Ntata. So I choose the former; they agree with him, and feel Ben Phiri deserves the beating, and his relationship with the President needs to be disapproved.
And Ben Phiri and DPP need to reflect seriously on the type of Cadets that are entrusted with the delicate duty of shielding party officials and government machinery on the media. I am very afraid. If the guys, could not defend one Ben Phiri, and of course the President from Ntata then we cannot expect these Cadets to shield government from the cunning donors, the ever bitter Opposition Parties, and the fearless Civil Society Organisations. There always come a time when government must use its boys to safeguard the international and local reputation of government on social and mainstream media, and hold people’s opinion in favourable shape. But if the entrusted DPP boys could not contain just Ntata, then DPP has a reason to worry for its future.
And finally, the DPP needs to put the house of Cadets in perfect order. It is very clear that the Cadets have lost the will and enthusiasm to fight. DPP must not forget that it is these very same Cadets that sacrificed their own money, time, jobs, business, relationships, and everything to push DPP back in power. Why have they lost the spirit to fight for DPP and its leader?
Personally, I think what DPP cadets need are not rewards. I don’t think cadets need jobs. Cadets are the smartest guys in town and they know that the DPP government cannot employ all cadets, and not all cadets are educated and competent enough for jobs. Most of them can not fit anywhere in government or Parastatals. Moreover, employing only Cadets would be a very sad manifestation of cronyism and nepotism, which must be discouraged in strictest terms.
The solution however, is for DPP to come up with an inclusive policy that would recognize the Cadets as part and parcel of the ruling Party and ensure that they are empowered with resources and opportunities to play active roles in political and development affairs of the Party and government. Otherwise DPP must brace itself for a disappointing campaign and internal fights on the road to 2019. Unfortunately, DPP will not be able to win the 2019 Elections with disgruntled Cadets.