The political stage in Malawi has never been short of entertainment shows. There have been both intra and inter party wrangles, some of which are only serving the purpose of manifesting the embryo stage at which Malawi’s ever young democracy has vowed to stagnate.
Stock-taking the duration at which Malawi has been under democratic dispensation versus its levels of development, the safest conclusion would lean towards the fact that the only field where Malawi has politically progressed than any other country in Africa is the field of propaganda and useless politicking.
While a lot has been done, heard and said about the posturing of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) the so-called government in waiting has equally excelled in disappointing. An in-fighting which started with denial eventually revealed itself to be real. Some members of the party have been agitating for the change of leadership, accusing the incumbent as lacking decisiveness and perpetrating dictatorial tendencies – the very elements forming the accusations levelled against the incumbent State leadership.
We all know (I am assuming) that lack of decisiveness entails failure to apply decision and/or action where one is confronted with a scenario requiring decision and action. This happens when the leadership is hesitant in solving emerging problems or acting on matters. They are said to be burying their heads in the sand – like an Ostrich.
On the other hand, perpetration of dictatorial tendencies entails the propensity of persons of leadership to highlight their desire and opinion above everybody else. Mostly, it goes with actions that turn out to be undesirable by the rest or at least the majority. How one can be both indecisive and dictatorial, is something beating my understanding.
The logical perspective is either one is indecisive or dictatorial and not both. No one would be said to be a dictator whilst he/she takes no action that would otherwise contradict the inclination of the majority.
Coming back to the intra-party squabbles in MCP, one may argue that this is a mark of a thriving intraparty democracy while I would choose to say this is a mark of decomposition of etiquettes of democracy. The main issue that invited this opinion is the leaked audio of a conversation between Mrs. Chatinkha Chidzanja and Hon. Lingson Belekanyama (MP). Perhaps both do not require detailed introduction, except the quick reminder that Chatinkha is a dissident voice that has been fighting to displace the incumbent MCP President – Lazarus Chakwera whereas Belekanyama is a renowned MCP veteran and official who was accused to be party to the faction that agitated for the infamous July 7 convention spearheaded by the party’s Secretary General – Gustav Kaliwo.
Apparently, Hon. Belekanyama publicly denied the allegations, a move that left the credibility of the change fighters in tatters. Adding the thickness of dirt to the image of this breakaway force was the fact that apart from claiming the involvement of Mr. Belekanyama, the indaba announcement also included some dead individuals on the list of purported delegates. Confusion could not be displayed any clearly.
As if to demonstrate that Hon. Belekanyama was involved in the organization of the disputed convention and discredit his consequential denial, a local radio has aired a leaked audio of phone conversation reportedly between him and Chatinkha (who has apparently merged forces with Kaliwo).
However, the timing and mutilation of the audio clip stimulates my attention to detail and I find it to be an unsuccessful attempt to justify the inclusion of Hon. Belekanyama on their side. Wait a minute, did I just say a mutilated clip? Yes – you heard me right. Reports are that Hon. Belekanyama has not denied the conversation captured in the clip. He has owned his voice in the clip but has further indicated that in this particular call with Mrs. Chatinkha, they took over an hour. He has disclosed that he had categorically told her the need to have the conversation endorsed by the President of the party – Dr. Lazarus Chakwera. Instead, what was purposefully leaked was, but a 10 minutes 42 seconds clip. The entire excess of 40 minutes being cut off. Why? This is the mutilation that I have referred to.
Focusing on the available part of the clip, we observe Hon. Belekanyama indicating to Mrs. Chatinkha of the need to discuss and afford mutual understanding with the party leadership and go to a unanimous indaba that will ensure prevalence of peace and order. In that counselling, however, there is no indication clearly pointing to the claimed ‘fact’ that Hon. Belekanyama is part and parcel of the irate grouping. At some point, Hon . Belekanyama was clearly heard highlighting to Mrs. Chatinkha that MCP, as one body, should always consider that its ‘enemy’ is the DPP. He further questioned if it was possible for him to be enemies with Mrs. Chatinkha, to which the latter responded in the negative. This kind of conversation, ladies and gentlemen, does not fit a kind of people who have been on a common mission.
My analysis is surely bent on the conclusion that, perhaps, indeed someone was bankrolled by the DPP to cause mayhem in its opposition MCP to weaken the party using the divide-and-rule mechanism and this is why the MCP needs to be more careful on this issue. It is trite that Galaxy radio which broadcasted. The leaked audio is a business entity belonging to the family of the Mutharikas and it is more than often used to advance the interests of the DPP which was founded by the late Mutharika. Listening to how Galaxy framed the report about the clip, one would notice a hard work done to impress that Hon. Belekanyama was implicated by the clip. But the clip clearly betrays such reporting by its own facts.
Perhaps a few questions worth reflecting upon:
What was the intention of Mrs. Chatinkha in recording and leaking the audio? Why did Galaxy choose to leave out the fact that Hon. Belekanyama urged Mrs. Chatinkha to prioritize discussions with the party leadership so as to achieve a peaceful indaba? How many times have they been talking, perhaps, about the issue and why leaking this particular clip? If Hon. Belekanyama is part and parcel of the grouping, why not leak other conversations or minutes that would squarely confirm his involvement with the grouping? From the time Mrs. Chatinkha and Hon. Belekanyama conversed, have we seen the former appearing publicly to rant against Dr. Chakwera? What would we say was the intention of Hon. Belekanyama to be discussing the matter with Mrs. Chatinkha?
In the answering of these questions, I once again, appeal to the MCP to be on the lookout against the DPP’s divide-and-rule tactic that might be responsible for this clip and its leakage. Otherwise, I am tempted to suggest that Hon. Belekanyama was only acting as a mature politician by not snubbing the dissidents, but rather reaching out to them for reasoning and persuasion purposes.
I rest my case!