Mark Katsonga: Malawi presidential hopeful

To many, Mark Katsonga-Phiri is simply one of the most prominent businesspersons in the country, owning one of the best bus service providers – Axa Bus Limited. But, of late, much as he isn’t that popular politically, Katsonga has become a force to reckon with. He is ready, he says, to shove Malawi out of socio-eco-political misery. Nyasa Times Special Projects & Supplements Editor Pius Nyondo writes:

Honestly, there is not much to write about Mark Katsonga Phiri – People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) who is more than determined on becoming State President of the Republic of Malawi.

He is character of his own, from the way he dresses to the way he boldly talks. For Katsonga, glasses are always half-full and never half empty. He is some very much strange personality as far as optimism is concerned.

Katsonga:  PPM presidential candidate
Katsonga: PPM presidential candidate

When addressing his political rallies, he is always clad in three-piece suits. Only if he also carried a flying whisk with him, one would argue that he is the Kamuzu Banda of today – Malawi’s first president – as far as dressing uniquely is concerned.

And, furthermore, Mark is a staunch Christian – a Catholic for that matter. He doesn’t hesitate to do his Sign of the Cross in public, something many find difficult. He talks like one, a Christian. And, behaves like one. Katsonga is humble. He greets everyone regardless of their status quo or whatsoever. He’s probably one of the humblest politicians to be utmost candid.


Mark Katsonga Phiri has no traceable sound academic background. Yours truly fervently tried to Google; telephone his buddies – in a quest to find about who Katsonga is academically – to no avail.

He could probably be rated one of the worst of the 12 presidential hopefuls contesting next week’s May 20 tripartite elections – as far as academic papers, and the number of classrooms entered are concerned.

But, wait a minute, should academic qualifications be a drawback for someone to contest for this country’s presidency?

Indeed, as one Edward Chitsulo in his Rawstuff column that appears weekly in Weekend Nation column mused the other day, have we not seen world acclaimed professors frustrating us big time?

So, let’s spare Katsonga the academic profile. After all, he has proved to more able than some of this country’s much esteemed professors.


But Katsonga has time and again told Nyasa Times that “I strongly believe in education. Our young must go to college and learn, and learn how to turn our socio-economic tables around.”

Business, Axa Bus Limited

From Malawi’s Southern Region district of Mwanza, Katsonga is one of the most accomplished businesspersons this country can boast about.

Yes, he has no, as we have already put it, no traceable academic background. But businesswise, he might arguably be the best.

Almost every Malawian, including his contenders for the presidency, has used the fruits of his hands – Axa Bus Limited.

To be sincerely frank, services offered by Axa Bus Limited are actually best if one compares them to state bus service provider National Bus Service.

From nothing, Katsonga has made it big – businesswise. Why should one doubt then that he can turn tables around in the country for the better should he be voted as Malawi president?

Katsonga has the potential – immeasurable potential which he has proved verily. He has got the technical-knowhow.

Political legacy

Katsonga is one of the few politicians in the country who can be excused of political prostitution.

He has always stuck to his PPM. It is PPM for him – for better, for worse.

Since the death of Aleke Banda, his predecessor at PPM, Katsonga has raised his party’s flag.

Actually, it is unfortunate that some of our analysts consider PPM a “briefcase party.”

PPM has grown substantially under the visionary and determined leadership of one Mark Katsonga Phiri.

As far as political prostitution is concerned, Katsonga is one of the cleanest if all the presidential hopefuls are to be compared.

20 point plan 

That the man, Mark Katsonga-Phiri,   believes in his 20-point plan is no doubt.

“What maybe suspicious is his conviction that development is the panacea for all Malawi’s problems. He so much believes to have so much faith devolution,” wrote Ephraim Munthali of Nation on Sunday.

The award winning investigative journalist further described Katsonga as “someone who will help build more schools, colleges and universities.”

Katsonga-Phiri is for decentralization.

“Decentralisation will lead to the abolishment of government’s Account number One. One of which according to Katsonga, is good because councils will collect their own taxies, levies, and fees and all those resources should remain at the local authority,”

Munthali added that “ but he [Katsonga] neglected how the central government will function without money given that even the “overseer” role he has assigned to Capitol Hill  will still need money.

“The man has, it is clear, an overzealous and naive faith in decentralization,” opines Munthali.


Katsonga is one Malawi has been looking forward to. Malawians must vote him in so that he proves his worthwhile, as far as the development of the country is concerned. He simply wants change – change for Malawi.

And; considering what he has achieved personally isn’t he the man to trust?

But it’s up to voters as  Malawi goes to the polls Tuesday.

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