Malawi parties may ‘mirror’ Germany’s Pirates to enter govt

The so called Pirates, a new entry in the Berlin Federal State Parliament, may have broken the jinx in the Germany political scene by becoming perhaps the only party so far without a clearly defined agenda, ideology or leadership structure.

Similarly in Malawi, the 40 or so political parties may borrow a leaf from the Pirate’s modus operandi and stop complaining about how undemocratic the DPP led government is and try to change things inside rather than outside.

In Germany, opposition parties are revered as a major component of good democratic practice such that the parties receive more money and their MPs receive higher honoraria than their colleagues.

The receipt of more money is meant to strengthen opposition parties in terms of their operations since their counterparts use government machinery.

“That is why Germany has never had a single party government. It has always been coalitions ever since,” said veteran freelance journalist and media trainer doctor Dirk Asendorpf.

For over 60 years, Germany has been a model of democracy with political parties spelling out clearly how they are going to solve issues. For instance, the Greens champion environmental issues, they are anti-war and are concerned with minority rights and so are the many other parties.

But 45 percent of Berliners think the Pirates should be taken seriously, according to Infratest Dimap, one of Germany’s respected Polling Institutes.

The Pirates, have no leader but a six head leadership structure both at federal and national level, ousted the Liberal Democrats (FDP), which has been in and out of parliament thrice since 1946. The FDP bade farewell for the fourth time when the new Parliament rose on Thursday.

“I don’t think they  (Pirates) are really a Political Party and we don’t know how they are going to organise their political ideas. Ultimately, if they don’t come up with any, nobody will give them attention,” Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MP Christian Goiny claimed.

“We have no ideology because when you talk of ideology you end up believing in dogma,” Pirates spokesperson Ben De Biel countered.

In elections held in September, the Pirates campaigned using new media to reach out to voters including the traditional 30 percent regarded as none voters. They grabbed 15 seats in the 149 member Parliament.

“Technology is revolutionising how communication could be enhanced to serve and reach out to more people,” De Biel boasted.

Infratest Dimap, Director of Elections Research Jurgen Hofrichter, while agreeing with the theory that the political scene is metamorphosing, added that the Pirates also preyed on people fed up with the current political system by calling for transparency in the conduct of public business.

“This was also a shame and wake up call to the old parties. People are fed up with closed door discussions and decisions,” Hofrichter said.

“It may also be due to the fact that they are new, fresh, held public meetings and were totally transparent. They also captured first time voters,” Berliner Zeitung Political Editor Tobias Miller said.

Miller also thinks the Pirate’s triumphant smacks of a new political phenomenon.

However, despite the lack of ideology, the Pirates feel Germany’s public life lack ‘pragmatism’ and the increased use of new technology to reach out to people and make quick decisions.

“We have more questions than answers ourselves. The problem is nobody is getting behind the politics and decisions that are being made. Everything is decided behind closed doors and we want to change that,” De Biel said.

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