Nepotism shows ugly head in PP primaries: A case of Omar Paison Kaisi

Esteemed reader, the article you are reading has nothing to do with demonizing the People’s Party (PP) nor de-campaigning it, rather reminding people that there were other parties that went through the route which PP is following in its primary elections and currently are experiencing massive decline in support from members of the general public

It is an open secret in Malawi political arena the country’s political scene has been infested with recycled politicians be they in newly formed or old parties the only difference is the change of party colours they put on.

If you talk of ideologies, every one of us can remember four cornerstones of the country oldest existing party Malawi Congress Party that’s Unity, Loyalty, Obedience and Discipline. It is actually Discipline that has been found to defeat the essence of democracy hence a lot of parties do not promote it publicly and they rather use it internally within their parties, as a results most them are defunct or a mere briefcase parties.

Kaisi robbed of his victory in broad day light
Kaisi robbed of his victory in broad day light

In recent times we have seen almost all serious political parties conducting primary elections in order to be “seen as practicing democracy” in readiness for the May tripartite elections.

Most of the parties are losing support by day basically because of democratic tendencies that leave people disgruntled and disillusioned with the outcome of primary elections within parties. The evidence to this has seen losers have in the recent past opted for independent tickets and true to their determination in effort to shame the devil; they have indeed become victors through popular vote.

It all started with Bakili Muluzi former Chairperson for the United Democratic Front (UDF), who prior to 2004 elections dictated that, all sitting MPs would not be subjected to primary elections. But the action saw the party’s numbers of parliamentarians plummeting from 45 MPs in 2004 to 11 in 2009. Mind you, it has already been mentioned earlier that all parties born today have something in common and it is because of this reason, they behave, act and perceive the Malawians in the same way – taking them for granted.

In recent times, we have seen the ruling People’s Party conducting primary elections throughout the country in order to give chance to people to choose their own representatives but critics have described as a “sugar coating” to the name “People’s Party”. They argue that if indeed people have spoken during primaries, why having immense complaints to those termed as disgruntled losers?

It is this state of affairs that has prompted closer look and examination to the allegations that has been made by some of the losers in these primaries. On top of the list of complainant lies the case of Mangochi East Constituency dispute that has seen a clear winner being robbed of a clear victory. He is no other than, Omar Paison Kaisi, Director of International Relations and Protocol in the ruling People’s party.

He was robbed of victory in broad day light by means of staging of a series of unfounded allegations through coxing the third losing candidate, Abraham Milosi in order to grant a ticket to a grand-child of the People’s Party President, Dr. Joyce Banda on a silver platter.

The truth of the matter is that primary elections for the above referenced constituency were held on Saturday 4th January, 2014 and had a clear outcome as follows:

Omar Paison Kaisi  2, 274 votes,

Ibrahim Daudi Nyenje1, 830,

Emmanuel Abraham Mailosi 1, 514

Omar Karim Adini    277 votes.

The above results were reported to the tally center by Returning Officer, Godfrey Kamanya, Deputy Minister of Local Government.

It has been revealed that on Sunday, 5th January, 2014, the winner was invited by the Secretariat sitting at Sun ‘N’ Sand Hotel in Mangochi, where he was informed by the Acting Secretary General Paul Maulidi, leading a committee and said, that some of the loosing candidates have complained about the way elections were held which they believe altered the results in favor of the victor.

He went on to say that it has been alleged that the primary election result were marred because there was intrusion by some UDF supporters who were transported from Mangochi boma, to be exact from M’baluku. The accused clarified the allegations and the Secretariat informed him that it will proceed in investigating the matter further and all concerned members shall be notified on the final assessment of the investigations which will determine the way forward.

Surprisingly before the said report on the findings could be tabled, the constituents, reported to Mr. Omar Paison Kaisi on Tuesday morning, that they heard from MBC Radio-1 news of 7:00pm of Monday, 6th January that Primary Elections for Mangochi East never took place due to some unspecified problems hence there is going to be a re-run on Saturday, 11th January 2014, and the story was filed MBC correspondent in Mangochi Akimu Kaingana which was in contrast to what was agreed at Sun ‘N’ Sand Hotel meeting.

In response Kaisi asked for an emergency meeting which was called and chaired by constituency governor Anurd Issa at the governor’s residence and attended by 25 of the constituency committee members drawn from the five political zones. Among other things discussed was confirmation of the news bulletin from MBC announcement as reported by constituents and chart the way forward. It was agreed from this meeting that Kaisi should leave the constituency immediately for Blantyre where PP headquarters is housed and inquire from Paul Maulidi about the same.

Upon reaching PP Headquarters Blantyre on Thursday 2014, Maulidi was not available since he was equally busy preparing for his own primary election to take place on the upcoming weekend, however, Kaisi met Rev. Peter Kaleso who is an administrative Secretary for People’s Party, who attentively listened to anomalies raised by him. Kaleso advised Kaisi to put in writing all issues raised for appropriate attention and he did comply on the same day and submitted.

Parallel to this, People’s Party was conducting briefing session at COMESA Hall on Friday 10th January, 2014, where aspiring candidates for the Southern Region were being educated on procedures for the upcoming primary elections scheduled for Sunday, 12th January, 2014 and among other issues, the party announced that disgruntled aspiring candidates who shall rush to media houses for their differences to be held or to court houses to seek justice shall be expelled from the party for insubordination.

The very Friday at 9:00 pm Mr. Kaisi, received a phone call from Deputy Secretary General, Mrs. Irene Chikuni, who informed him officially that there will be a re-run for the disputed elections on Sunday, 12th January, 2014 at Mangochi East Constituency. In response Kaisi queried why was he informed about this a day away from the re-run while the rest were informed five days earlier (Monday)? It was this question that prompted Secretariat to re-schedule the date to Wednesday, 15th January, 2014.

At 11 pm, two hours later, Kaisi received another phone call from Ms. Patricia Njala Secretary of Rev. Peter Kaleso, the administrative Secretary, informing him of meeting involving all MP aspiring candidates of Mangochi East scheduled for Saturday 11th January 2014 at 2:00 pm to take place at Grace Bandawe, a temporary sitting of PP secretariat in preparation for primary elections for Southern region.

All the aspirants including Kaisi thought that this was going to be a long awaited meeting where everyone will be informed of the promised investigation findings on the allegation, however it never to be. In-steady, the Deputy Secretary General for Central Province George Zulu informed the only two candidates available at the meeting Emmanuel Abraham Milosi and Omar Paison Kaisi, that the party has decided to schedule a re-run on Wednesday, 15th January 2014 hence the meeting is to inform the aspirant of the decision.

This announcement did not go down well with Kaisi who reminded the Secretariat of what was agreed at Sun ‘N’ Sand that findings on the allegations shall be made known to them and a way forward shall be communicated to that effect. In reaction to this Zulu, communicated to both aspirants attending the meeting that in fact, the said investigations revealed that the allegations were baseless, but re-run should still go ahead because as a party, it was still interested to get a true picture of PP membership in the constituency, hence they put no blame on any candidate rather blamed the system failure.

It against this background that prompted Kaisi, the winning candidate to withdraw from the re-run primary elections which so far through conduct of officials from Secretariat has demonstrated that there is a preferred candidate to win on the re-run.

This is evidenced by public utterances made by Head of State Dr. Joyce Banda recently during a “development” rally in Machinga where, she gave her position on the matter as President for the PP, saying “Primary Elections in the eastern Region had gone well, except one or two constituencies in Mangochi where involvement of opposition parties in the people’s party elections saw a weaker candidate carrying the day which was planned so that, come general elections, it should be easy for the opposition to defeat the PP candidate”. She concluded that there is going to be re-run in that constituency.

Further went ahead describing the perpetrator as being someone who has been in parliament for twenty years, but does not speak or ask for development project because he cannot speak English, if he speaks, it would only be when other parliamentarians are quarrelling and he would cheer up or jump to stop a fight”. She further ascertained that this individual uses a fake MSCE certificate.

Following the withdraw from the re-run primary elections by Kaisi, the scheduled re-run for 15th January, 2014 was called off and People’s Party granted victory to Ibrahim Daudi Nyenje who came second in the race, totally ignoring the fact that there were three more candidates in the race, let alone the complainant Emmanuel Abraham Mailosi the third in the race whose allegations has been dismissed.

It is against this back ground that is prompting people to dub People’s Party (PP) as family party (FP) where it has been clearly demonstrated that wherever a family member was contesting, he or she was given preference.

For example Zomba Malosa where Roy Akajuwe Kachale Banda, a son to President Banda was contesting, a sitting MP, Mr. Undani withdrew from the race. In Balaka-West where a brother in-law Mr. Ronald Chithyola Chanthunya, was contesting, his win was under microscope and no effort has been made by the party to listen to complainants.

It is baseless and tramped up allegations like that occurred in Mangochi East Constituency which defy logic where a winner has been declared and events on the ground testify to the contrary, notwithstanding the fact that monitors from both winning and losing teams assented and appended signatures to the outcome, both returning officer and presiding officers in the polling centers have reported no violence and supporters in general are equally surprised on why in the first place holding the primary elections when you had someone in mind to carry the day. To justify end means I suppose.

It is not surprising that the conduct of People’s Party during just ended primary elections has something in common with predecessor parties when it comes to nepotism portrayed herein where protracted plan to have the party inherited by family members just as the general public has witnessed with predecessor parties of UDF and DPP where a son and younger brother were imposed on respective party supporters.

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