It appears the two main rival parties to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in this election, the Malawi Congress party (MCP) and UTM, have ignored the Democrtaic Progress Party (DPP) and have instead turned against each other.
There has been an increased rivalry and bitter feuding between the two parties with the main battlegrounds being the central region. To underline this feuding, we are currently witnessing some of the bitterest exchanges between supporters of the two parties on the social media, particularly on Facebook and Whatsapp forums.
The most immediate reason for this rivalry is that MCP lives under the premonition that the central regions is its enclave and would want to protect that territory under any circumstances.
The oldest party in Malawi still lives under the belief that it will sweep all the votes in the region, and already it is bragging of having a ‘fixed deposit’ of 1 million supporters from the central region in this election.
However, the continued presence and activities of UTM in the region appears to be challenging that notion. UTM appears to be targeting the very central region with rallies by the party’s President, Saulos Chilima, particularly in Lilongwe rural; Dedza, Kasungu, Dowa and other parts of the central region. UTM even chose Dowa as the venue for launching its campaign and manifesto.
In turn, MCP has been following the UTM trail and has enlisted its Director of Youth, Richard Chimwendo Banda to keep holding parallel rallies close to where UTM conducts its public meetings in the central region. The reason for MCP’s actions is obviously to attempt to neutralize the efforts that UTM is making so that its (UTM) momentum in the central region is stalled.
In their feuding frenzy, MCP and UTM appear to have forgotten that there is still an ‘elephant in the room’ in this election and that if they are not careful their bitter rivalry will only play into the hands of the DPP. They have forgotten that their consistent dog-fights will make them lose focus of the real ball, which is the ruling party.
The DPP may take advantage of the spaces that the two parties are leaving behind to create electoral advantages to win the forthcoming elections.
However, it remains to be seen how the ruling DPP will spring up to the plate and take advantage of the opportunities that have been availed in the political environment as a result of the UTM and MCP rivalry. This is due to the fact that somehow the DPP appears to be slackening; the ruling party is behaving like some kind of a bystander and is busy watching the MCP/UTM ‘show’ from a distance like some kind of political soccer.
Instead of developing campaign teams and go flat out with comprehensive and consistent campaign messages to the people and mobilize more support for the DPP, many of the senior members of the party who ordinarily should have been relied upon to campaign, have chosen to draw back to their constituencies to campaign for their parliamentary seats. It is only just a few senior members, especially those from the southern region, who have taken up the mantle to hit the campaign road and mobilize support for the party.
For example, the UTM and MCP rivalry seems to be particularly intense in the central region. This has helped open up spaces in the eastern region and the southern regions of the country where DPP can take advantage to consolidate its support. The DPP also has a loyal base of support in the central region particularly the urban areas of Lilongwe and other parts of Dowa and Kasungu.
The UTM/MCP rivalry can help the DPP to profile its loyal base of support in the central region, which the party can use for strategic planning purposes to anticipate the number of votes that it can get in the region and how to tailor its campaign in order to consolidate its territory in the central region.
The UTM/MCP intense rivalry in the central region presents a two tier opportunity to the DPP.
First, the two parties have forgotten the other regions, particularly the eastern and southern regions making them fertile battle grounds that should be invaded.
Secondly, currently the United Democratic Front (UDF) does not have the grip of the eastern region like it used to have previously and will likely lose some constituencies, which again contributes to making the region an intense battleground in this election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :