Political analysts in the country have noted that Malawians are losing trust in political parties after the results of the May 20 tripartite elections have shown that independent members of Parliament (MPs) have become a dominant bloc in the National Assembly.
According to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) independent MPs lead in terms of representation as they are 52 compared to 50 for ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), 48 for Malawi Congress Party (MCP), 26 for People’s Party (PP), 14 for United Democratic Front (UDF) and one each for Alliance for Democracy (Aford) and Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) of Enoch Chihana and Davis Katsonga respectively.
“This is a sign that political parties are declining,” said Malawi’s political science lecturer Blessings Chinsinga in remarks quoted by Daily Times.
“There is something wrong with the political parties. They should look at themselves seriously.”
Chinsinga noted that most independent contested after being frustrated by party primary elections which were not held fairly.
Henry Chingaipe, a political and social commentator, said noted that arrogance and lack of democracy are the main causes for the rise of independents.
“People are losing trust in political parties because they are mostly not operating according to their will. Instead of the MPs listening to them, they listen to the parties thus disconnecting themselves,” said Chingaipe as quoted by The Nation.
Another factor, according to Chingaipe, is lack of democracy within parties where authorities tend to impose some candidates on the party members at grass roots level.
Chingaipe advised political parties to reform and follow the will of the people.
He said: “They need to reform and listen to the will of the people if they want the number of independents to be reduced. But if they don’t, the trend will continue.”
Another analyst, Happy Kayuni, associate professor of political and administrative studies at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, agreed with Chingaipe, saying independents are a creation of political parties.
“The political parties themselves create independents by imposing candidates on the people. So, those that are liked stand as independents and win. This is a clear message to political parties that they should not take it for granted that because they are popular in certain areas, their candidates are assured of winning,” Kayuni told The Nation.
In 2004, independent MPs in Parliament, led by former vice-president Justin Malewezi worked together as a bloc and managed to influence debate in the House.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :