Why Mutharika is likely to win Malawi presidency again in 2019: Analysis

The elections next year are very much around the corner and the political fray is currently sexed up with a frenzy of activities. Apart from the tried and tested political parties that we know, we also have seen a proliferation of new political parties (some with strange names), that have started zooming across the width and breadth of the country trying to woo votes. This is normal.

Mutharika and his DPP should just give people what they promised. Or acknowledge their failure

However, like in all political journeys, there are those that are going on a real journey and also those that are merely escorting. It has always been like that since the dawn of multiparty politics in Malawi in 1993. It was like that in 1994; it was like that in 1999; it was like that in 2004; it was like that in 2009 and it was also like that in 2014. Things will not change all of a sudden next year.

At this point it is important to quickly highlight the fact that the real battle of votes next year will be between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP), or to put it more succinctly, the battle will be between Arthur Peter Mutharika and Lazarus Chakwera. The others, as we have said, will just be escorts or deal makers based on their marginal strengths in their political blocks.

Of the two leaders, it is President Peter Mutharika who has an upper hand over opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera on many fronts in as far as winning next year’s elections is concerned. When Mutharika blazed on the political scene in 2014, he promised not to be just like any other president; he promised to be a unique president who will do things unusual to bring a different perspective to politics.

He came with a single minded focus to initiate a socio-economic development revolution to develop this country and to uplift the socio-economic conditions of Malawians. Four years down the line, there are visible results to show for this promise.

Peter Mutharika has spearheaded an infrastructure development revolution never seen before in this country. The tarred road network has increased tenfold in all the regions. In fact, in four years, Mutharika has constructed and rehabilitated many roads in this country more than all previous presidents combined.

The education system has been revamped, and the community college dream is now a reality. There is almost a community college in every district in this country and the first cohort of over 1000 students has just graduated in various disciplines ready to take on the country as entrepreneurs. The University of Malawi has been unbundled allowing various constituent colleges under it to be autonomous. This will encourage creativity, and will also help the universities to make more money through research and improve their standards.

Under Mutharika, this country has also seen exponential investments in the tourism sector. Five star hotels are currently under construction in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mangochi. The Liwonde-Mangochi road has just been rehabilitated on top of a stadium that has also been constructed in Mangochi. Soon this country will be earning most of its foreign exchange through the tourism sector.

Stadiums have also been constructed in Mulanje, Kasungu and Karonga, among others while other districts now boast state-of-the-art markets and bus terminals.

Democratic institutions have also flourished under Mutharika and are working smoothly without interference. Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) are able to engage with the president or openly criticize him without any recriminations like it was in the past  and the activists are allowed to hold demonstrations freely.

In fact Kamuzu Banda never allowed any Civil Society Organizations during his time. Under Mutharia, the Anti-Corruption-Bureau has also rediscovered its ‘teeth’ and is able to investigate and make high profile arrests without any interference. Of course, there is need for improvement but there has been steady progress.

Politically, it is also perhaps the DPP, of all political parties in Malawi, which has operational structures at area, district and regional level across the country. These structures are very important in political campaigns because the party is able to know the size of its membership which helps in planning and strategy. The People’s Party (PP) can bear testimony to this fact as it learned the hard way the importance of having comprehensive party structures on the ground.

During the 2014 campaign, DPP demonstrated that it can put these structures to good use to mount an effective below-the-line political campaign and snatch government from PP coming from opposition. This time, the party can equally put these structures to good use to defend its territory and strengthen its membership in other areas where it is not particularly well established.

In fact, the DPP has structures even in regions where it is not particularly strong such as the central region. The Malawi Congress Party on the other hand, although it claims to be a big party, is only just sparsely established in the southern region. Party structures at branch and area level are almost non-existent, and it would be foolhardy to think that it can establish these between now and next year.

In terms of experience, Mutharika is also pretty experienced and well versed with the corridors of government having worked in various cabinet portfolios as Cabinet Minister under his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika. He is therefore well disposed to continue putting the machinery of government to good use; to continue implementing various development programs for Malawians.

Chakwera on the other hand is a complete stranger; he has been a church pastor almost all of his adult life and is a novice in the workings of government. In fact documented evidence shows that pastors make terrible political leaders if they take a go at politics, and there is little to show that Chakwera will be any different or an exception to that rule.

Again, Chakwera will most certainly appoint Muhammad Sidik Mia as his running mate next year. Mia is a poisoned chalice (Chakwera does not know this) and appointing him as running mate has more disadvantages than advantages. Contrary to the belief that he is ‘the Lower Shire Giant’ and that he will bring Chakwera southern region votes, Mia is only just popular in his vicinity (something which can also be challenged), and will disappoint Chakwera and MCP in 2019.

Apart from this, Mia’s mere coming to MCP has already proved to be toxic. He has demonstrated that he comes with a baggage that is divisive and if Chakwera is not careful, the party will arrive at the polls next year in tatters (you can watch this space).

Countdown begins as Malawi heads towards watershed polls.

  • Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author not Nyasa Times
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Boss
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Boss

Kunyamula pen ndi pepala basi kumalemba tudzi ngati iti……munthu wa DPP basi kumalemba political column, yet you are biased from the word go. Just say you wish your party well, dont write things that favour DPP chifukwa ndiwe wa kummwera. Koma a Malawi ena ndiodontha eti? Okugwa dovu,osaona kuwawa, ozolowera mavuto ndithu. Iiiiiihhhhhhhhhh, this country?

Kibaki
Guest
Kibaki

Let him keep on dreaming. I agree with the fact DPP should not feature in the forth coming elections otherwise i see embarrasments

Hetherwick
Guest
Hetherwick

THE ASSERTIONS ARE OLD THEORIES FROM A 21ST CENTURY SCHOLAR, BEN BOTOLO PHIRI

Ambuje Kukaya
Guest
Ambuje Kukaya

The author is entitled to his opinion. He might have a point but he has gone too far in revealing himself as a DPP sympathizer He should have also done justice to us readers to point out that the infrastructure Government is putting in place is not sustainable. I have in mind the dyke in the Lower Shire, the Linthipe-Lobi Road, the new city roads in Lilongwe among other..

wids
Guest
wids

Mia has a bigger ego and surely he will be destroy MCP from inside. He has the money and will buy off his way.

gavin
Guest
gavin

truth pains. but sometimes its gud to accept it bcoz it finally helps one to regulate the level of upcoming embarrasment . mcp will never take over the government come 2019. we have been wasting our votes since 1994 and by that time mcp was stronger than it is today. for five consecutive times mcp has failed to clinch the presidency . u can vote for an mcp parliamentary candidate but not the presidential candidate . talk to me after 2019 .

Karonga central
Guest
Karonga central

Thus the problem of writing articles while sitting on the comforts of statehouse…..nonsense! !

Tinoman
Guest
Tinoman

I agree that Mcp with the two chakwera and Mia is a disaster ready to happen. It’s like a team with no chemistry

Boss
Guest
Boss

Koma Chilima-APM? What have those guys done to the country?

INEYO
Guest
INEYO

Kukhala Msogoleri wa opposition is the same as Kukhala Satana ndipo onse okutsatira ndi Ziwanda (Demons). From the discussion here and comments, I can ably point out who is a Demon and who is not.

Napoleon
Guest
Napoleon

True

Mopiwa Khombanyiwa
Guest

Painting Kamuzu Post Offices and call them Mlambe?

oMachemba
Guest
oMachemba

The writer appears to an independent contractor or consultant who gives you NOT the results you want, but the real facts. He should be commended. The government continues to go gang ho on development. It’s taking no prisoners. Infrastructure is very important in in every country: By infrastructure, in Malawi at this juncture, we talking mainly about paved roads. There are many parts of the country it took several hours to get to from Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu; but now it takes one hour. That is not peanuts … by African standards (South Africa is in a different domain). Some… Read more »

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