From Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to the United Democratic Front (UDF); from the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) to UDF; from UDF to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); from the DPP to the People’s Party (PP); from PP to MCP; and from PP to DPP. Such has been the intensity and wave of defections by Malawian politicians since the multiparty era dawned upon us in 1993.
Malawi is probably the only country in Africa, and may be in the entire world, where a politician can hop from one political party to another, willy-nilly, without even consulting their members of their previous party. I dare say the impunity with which these political prostitutes change political party allegiance is heart-wrenching. These politicians’ conduct is simply unbelievable, to say the least, and a blatant abuse of the right to freedom of association.
It is almost time that civil and political rights activists and organizations such as the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), who claim to be the ‘voice of the voiceless’condemn these nomadic politicians whose only interest is their pockets and immediate families and not to serve the people.
It is with a sense of urgency that Malawians must demand formulation and adoption of legislation that can effectively regulate politicians’ defections in order to bring about some semblance of dignity and discipline in our national political system.Voters must not be taken for granted.
Indeed, after the 1994 first multiparty elections were held in Malawi and three distinctive political parties emerged—UDF, MCP and AFORD, many political optimists dreamt of a multiparty dispensation in Malawi similar to those in well-organized and old democracies, especially in the Western world where politicians stayed in their original parties until retirement or death.
Malawian voters expected their politicians to be well-mannered and principled such that when they are voted on a particular political party’s ticket, they would remain loyal to that political party whether it forms government or when they are in opposition.
Our ‘optimists’ and voters were dead wrong; our politicians tasted the ‘forbidden fruit’, which is money, and their eyes opened and discovered they were ‘naked’. Although they ‘covered’ their bodies with expensive Versace shirts, suits, ties, socks and shoes, they found the taste of money irresistible. As a result, most of our politicians have not stayed in one political party but hop around in search of money, especially in the ruling party or any political party that offers sure prospects of financial returns.
As we approach the elections year, 2019, there has lately been such political defections with many former governing People’s Party (of former President Joyce Banda) members joining either the governing DPP of President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika or the main opposition MCP, which is led by clergyman Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
Some of the notable names involved in the political prostitution include former PP provincial chairman for the North and Mzimba Hora legislator, Reverend Mzomera Ngwira who recently defected to DPP, Halima Daudi, formerly of PP and close confidante of Joyce Banda, has trekked to MCP, and former Defence Minister under Joyce Banda, Ken Kandodo Banda is going back to his roots, MCP.
Before them, ‘Foot Soldier’ Ken Msonda, formerly of PP, defected to the DPP together with Clara Makungwa, another Joyce Banda close aide, and Bintony Kutsaira. Hophmally Makande, also formerly of People’s Party (and before that, UDF and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of Brown James Mpinganjira) has joined the DPP.The list is agonizingly long!
Now we hear that Muhammad Sidik Mia, the self-acclaimed Lower Shire political giant and one of former President Joyce Banda closest ministers and advisors, is heading to MCP. It is rumoured that a deal has been struck that Mia would be Dr. Chakwera’s running mate in the 2019 presidential elections.
The Chakwera-Mia ‘marriage’ seems to have triggered much controversy within the MCP ranks, with a better section of the party, which thinks Mia is using his financial prowess to buy his way into the MCP vice-presidency
At least all the above-mentioned politicians and many others that have not been mentioned for reasons of space and time have been to all political parties-UDF, DPP, PP, among others. They have not offered genuine and compelling reasons for changing political parties like underwear except for their apparent desire to enrich themselves.
These‘good-for-nothing’ politicians must be ashamed of themselves for choosing to throw their integrity to the wind just in search of personal financial gains.
Malawi is doomed to remain under-developed because we always have weak and fragmented opposition, which cannot undertake necessary and effective oversight roles and hold government accountable for its actions. This is because opposition leaders and members are hopping around, from one party to another, for selfish interests.
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“I personally believe that those who are leaders with political power over the world will be forced some day, sooner or later, to give way to common sense and the will of the people.”- Alva Myrdal