Malawi Congress Party: Msowoya et al should rethink strategy

The media’s keen interest in intra-party democracy is predicated on the premise that parties that are undemocratic cannot be expected to champion and promote democratic forms or processes of governance when they are in charge of the government machinery. Blessings Chinsinga and Gerald Chigona (2010) underscore the gospel truth in this statement in their Executive Summary of ‘The State of Intra-party Democracy in Malawi: A Comparative Audit of Selected Party Constitutions’ a study they conducted.

MCP Vice President. Richard Msowoya : I still want to be Chakwera’s runningmate in 2019

It is largely on this basis that the media—as the fourth estate—in its self-proclaimed but noble role of providing checks and balances on the political system will always take a keen interest in the state of intra-party democracy. More so for those political parties which carry people’s hopes that they are a government-in waiting.

Such a political party in Malawi is the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Many look up to MCP as providing an alternative to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This view was affirmed by the outcome of the October 17 2017 by-elections, when MCP swept all but one seat in the three parliamentary and three ward councilor elections. Not only did MCP trounce DPP in areas traditionally deemed sympathetic to it—Nsanje—MCP triumphed despite the gargantuan resources that DPP splurged out in the area owing to its incumbency advantage.

It is precisely on this basis that many people are now keenly following the goings-on in MCP. And this week saw a resurgence of conflicts in MCP when four senior party leaders—allegedly authored a letter criticising their party president—Lazarus Chakwera. One official has since disassociated himself from the document. The others, including MCP vice-president Richard Msowoya have admitted authoring it. And this is the basis of this write-up.

As the second-in-command in the party, one would have expected Msowoya to exhaust all channels of communicating his misgivings to his boss before resorting to writing a letter. Are things so bad between the two that Msowoya could not even just pick a phone a phone and say, bwana, can we talk, even if it is Chakwera in the wrong? I may not be very familiar with MCP’s procedures for communication but as the two most senior members of the party, I expect them to be talking to each other all the time. I therefore have good reason to be apprehensive that Msowoya had to pen his boss on an issue he was not happy about.

Admitted Msowoya may not be a very happy man with the turn of events that Chakwera brought into the party former minister and business mogul Mohammad Sidik Mia. But isn’t that what MCP and all other parties should be doing with elections around the corner? Maintain an open-door policy and continue on the trajectory of rebuilding the party?

For all we know, Mia is currently a mere member of the party who has merely expressed interest to vie for the position of vice-president at the convention. But again that is what anyone could do when positions in the party are up for grab. In all democratic parties, party positions are not permanent positions. If I were Msowoya with due respect to him, I would just have humbled myself and said, OK thank you, let us meet at the convention. Meanwhile, he would just have been garnering support to retain the position. Washing dirty linen in the public—for that is what it has come to now—should not have been anywhere near his strategy for expressing his unhappiness.

Even if the issue is about the running-mate, as we all know, being vice-president of the party does not guarantee one to be a running-mate. It is the prerogative of the presidential candidate to choose a running-mate.

I would thus not fault Chakwera for bringing Mia on board the MCP ship. The MCP constitution, I am sure, has clear mechanisms for ushering in transformation. Chakwera has seen Mia as having the valour, spine and backbone to help propel MCP to greater things.

Msowoya should also admit he had his chance as a running-mate in the 2014 elections but the result is not what the MCP fraternity desired. In the interest of promoting intra-party democracy, therefore, my advice to Msowoya is that he should swallow humble pie and not even challenge Mia to the party’s vice-presidency. Stepping aside would not be detracting from the fact that he remains a vital tool for rebuilding the party.

Msowoya should also be wary of playing into the devil’s hands. But it all depends on whether he still has passion for MCP. Where I come from upstream of Chamuyagha, which flows into Chamuthyethye which empties its water into the great Dwambazi River, they say, Kauzganga ni fwiti chara; fwiti ni tilinganenge (Advice given in good faith). All said, I still have great respect for Msowoya.

As for Chakwera being in the driving seat, he should urgently sit all senior disgruntled members down and amicably resolve the problems as a matter of urgency.

I will end with what I started with. MCP should try as much as possible to exude democratic values that will instill confidence among the voters that once in power the party will champion and promote democratic forms or processes of governance.-Source:NPL

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kongiresi zimene mukuchita nde ayi tisakunamizeni mukundichotsera chipemba chovota chaka chamawachi ndithu zinaoneka kale izi msowoya sangaimve naye akufuna ayese mwai wake kachitatu koma akudziwa kuti game yake ndiyoluza naye sidik kuzimva makobidi kwambiri akuona ngati basi zizatheka koma game yake ndiyofunika chisomo chifukwa akhwangwala awa a bluuu awa zoti angazitaye nde ndukayika anamphunzilila pa uja mphamvuuuuuuuuuu kuti game umatha kuluza uli momo nde akonzekatu kuti ikamazaoneka kuti ikuchucha basi kubeleratu……ndakusokosela nkulinga utamva


Msowoya munali ndani inu popanda Dr Laz kukuikani ngati Runnungmate

Karonga Boma

Even Msowoya came from DPP.So what is wrong with Mia

Kanthiti Mzandu

This man Msowoya ndi mthila ku wiri that’s Kaliwo akulimba mtima amatenga nkhani ku M C P kupita nazo kwa Godall Gondwe kapena Sanga achoke basi our aim kuno ku mpoto ndikufuna Msowoya achoke ayambe chake chipani cha N C P ngati angawine.. Nanu a D P P kumangoononga ndalama malo moti ndalamazo mukonzere zimbudzi mu zipatala tayenda mu zipatala mukaone zimbudzi. Ndalama kuonongera kugula Uladi Mussa B J Mpinganjira Makolija 2019 mukuluza basi mapazi anu


Can someone tell me the academic qualifications of Sidik Mia. Imagine Chakwera gets elected as Malawi’s president next year and Mia becomes VP of the republic of MW. Then Suddenly Chakwera becomes incapacitated. Would Mia run this country competently or the people of this country would see what they saw during Bakili Muluzi’s tenure of office (ie gross misgoverning of this country) ? Does Mia have the right academic credentials to rule our nation? Sukulu ndiyofunika ambuye!


Mia is far much better than shithole Chair. If Shithole chair ruled this country for 10 yrs, what would stop Mia from finishing Chakwera’s term?


Leaders are born not made in class.You can have very good qualifications but a poor leader.A very good example is what we are experiencing now with our shit hole president.


Ngati dziko lakhala likuyendesedwa ndi mbatama zina izi sono chimene chingamulake Mia ndichiani ?


Thanks Steve for a good piece of advice on the MCP divisions. I agree with you on most of what you have written, but please note that MCP has embraced democratic values more than the other political parties. At least anyone is free to contest for any position. At least MCP is able to argue on matters of constitution and procedure. Tell me of any political party that does this in this country!

Lebwede lebwede msowoya

Is there a party that Mia has not joined? The man has no principles whatsoever. He is just another political rolling stone.


Another misguided argument from Steve. The Msowoya’s are standing for democracy and constitutionslism. How can someone without a position in MCP be the one calling the shots? Mia is the one who should re-think strategy. It is a pity the pro-MCP media is blind to the fact that MIa is using his money to bring cnfusion and destroy MCP.


If Msowoya is strong enough let him face Mia at the convention.Mia just like any other Malawian has the right to contest for MCP running mate.

Well written Mr Nhlane. But the problem with your article is that you are a supporter of one side of the MCP camps. You have not explained in your post whether Msowoya is breaking the MCP constitution by co-writing that letter to Chakwera. In the letter the four guys are claiming that Chakwera flouted the constitution. Now Nhlane as a reporter should find out if Msowoya is cheating that Chakwera has flouted his own constitution. It is this style of leadership that people still see in MCP as a party which will never be democratic. Nhlane is advising Msowoya to… Read more »

Richard msowoya should just thank God for being considered to the position of the speaker rather than fighting Chakwera.Who knew that One day we shall have him as speaker?.More over the guy is less popular in Karonga .He was tried as running mate in 2014 with an aim of making in roads in the North but MCP failed miserably in the North.

Jon Jon

Good analysis depicting real issues in MCP & if I were Richard Msowoya i will take this column seriously with humility, that’s the art of exceptional leadership.

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