By Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times
Clergy Initiative for Integral Development (CIDE) has observed that in the 17 years that Malawi has been a multiparty democracy it is only the current governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that has shown serious disregard for intra-party democracy.
CIDE says it was the only “major party” that has gone for years without a national convention to choose its top leaders except for one, which was meant to “endorse” President Bingu wa Mutharika as its presidential candidate in 2009. All top party officials in the DPP are appointed.
In the light of Sunday’s DPP National Governing Council (NGC) ‘endorsement’ of young brother, Peter, as DPP presidential candidate in 2014, CIDE says the president has turned the party into a “family affair”.
CIDE executive member Pastor Richard Padambo told Nyasa Times in an exclusive interview in Blantyre that the president’s continued disregard for democratic selection of candidates and NGC officials, raises serious concerns about his ability and willingness to respect the rule of law and practice of good governance as Head of State.
“If he (Bingu) fails to espouse democratic values at the political party level, which requires that he facilitates election of office-bearers in an open, free and fair manner, how would he respect the Republican Constitution; how can he uphold human rights, the rule of law at state level,” wondered Pastor Padambo.
The man of God said it would not be an understatement to suggest that president Mutharika’s dictatorial tendencies have done more harm than good not only to the DPP but to the nation at large.
He said people in top positions in the DPP “do not have the necessary job security” because Mutharika “hires and fires willy-nilly”.
The pastor said that this scenario is not only prevalent in the DPP as a party but it is also there in the public sector where many people have lost their jobs and replaced by the president’s cronies, who are not necessarily suitable for such jobs.
“It has adversely affected the productive levels in government and the prevailing economic difficulties are, to some extent, as a result of preferential hiring of officers at the expense of capable professionals,” Padambo claimed.
On Sunday, the DPP NGC fired the party’s secretary general Bintony Kutsaira apparently for “double standards” as he was suspected to be not genuinely in support of the president’s brother, Professor Peter Mutharika leading the party in the 2014 general elections.
Wakuda Kamanga, formerly DPP administrative officer succeeded Kutsaira as the party’s ‘chief executive officer’.
The party also appointed Ken Zhikale N’goma as campaign director.