If Malawi Congress Party must die, suicide bombing should not be the cause: Editorial

The resistance to reform being demonstrated by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is a cause for concern, not only for followers of the MCP; but for all Malawians who believe that a functioning democracy entails strong and democratic political parties whose undertakings are transparent, righteous, fair and beyond reproach because charity begins at home.

Going by recent developments, or rather going by the regressive thinking and developments surrounding the MCP, it is clear that people in the party are bent and intent on frustrating democracy and freedom of association.

This, is neither a recipe for success, nor desirable with only ten months to major elections for any party worth the name. It is in fact tantamount to suicide bombing, hence the title.

At the Nyasa Times, we have watched with dismay as, at the whims of the current party leadership, the MCP NEC keeps shifting the date for the party’s Indaba on absurdly flimsy pretexts.editorial

MCP, it must be said plainly here, has for once in twenty years, unearthed some very attractive, bankable, competent and well qualified candidates, who could compete and fair very well against the other political parties’ heavy weights.

But sadly, the impasse caused sine dubio by John Zenas Tembo; and the hide-and-seek game he seems determined to play to the very end, are not only robbing the party of the needed momentum. People are rightly reaching a conclusion that the MCP is just yet another “bedroom” party.

There could be two sides to this impasse. Firstly – never mind the hogwash that “a seventy year old is being forced to stand” – it is a badly kept secret, that Honourable John Zenas Tembo wants rape the MCP constitution and self-impose his candidacy.

Secondly, it is possible that it is not just Tembo who is the stumbling block. There may be other players, who are more worried, concerned and interested in their own agendas, which would fail with a convention where fair-play ruled.

Whatever the case, all these are more detrimental than beneficial, and we will say it again: these are acts of suicide bombers.

In the least, putting personal interest first will kill whatever was left of this Grand Old Party – which will be bad for democracy in Malawi.

Nevertheless, despite and in spite of the under-currents, given his wide experience and singular expertise in losing elections, by this time, one would have thought that Hon John Tembo can read the bold writing on the wall; and accept that MCP has never been better placed to win an election if and only if he facilitates a credible convention where all contestants are weighed by the delegates.

Anything short of this will mean that the National Executive Committee is imposing a presidential candidate who, come May 2014 will be rejected by the wider electorate.

It seems that the veteran and his minions have a lot to protect, and that they will stop at nothing towards their selfish goals – at the expense of the existence of credible political parties in Malawi – which is why we have weighed in on this matter.

This narcissistic behaviour is causing exasperation for many people who are sick and tired of the malaise Malawi is suffering as a result of among other things, this kind of “politics of dysfunction”, “politics of me, me and only me”.

By this time, Honourable JZU Tembo needed to be investing – belatedly – on creating and leaving a legacy. He has a chance yet.

He can do the right thing for once, by paving the way for new and untainted leadership in MCP from the MCP’s rich and diverse crop of candidates.

While it is not too late for Honourable John Tembo to do the right thing; time is running out – fast – for the MCP if it is to salvage something at the polls next year.

In the light of this hopeless situation, what can MCP supporters do?

We, at the Nyasa Times, advise MCP followers as follows. Firstly,  to up the ante and demand accountability from all NEC members, and encourage them not to succumb to efforts to change the constitution to suit the agenda of a select few.

Again, they should, as a matter of right, demand a stop to the suicidal goal-shifting tactics because eventually the goals will collapse and with them, the once mighty Malawi Congress Party and with that Malawi will lose a party that has served not too badly in opposition from 1994 to date.

As to those wondering why the Nyasa Times is poking its “dirty” nose in intra-party affairs, we have this to say: while internal political party politicking is ordinarily not our business, without strong and democratic parties, democracy stands no chance in Malawi. And this, makes any undemocratic practice in any political party, our business.

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