Why the North can decide next Malawi President leader in 2019 polls

With  just over  a year to go before the next general elections , it is interesting to see political parties setting out their strategies   on how to capture the votes- yes the crucial votes that not only will give them a lot of parliamentary seats  but also  hand them the keys to the state house  with a presidential winner.

Aford’s Chihana sat a political rally with MCP president Lazarous Chakwera

It is easy to admit that recent events on Malawi political scene have given the political parties a wakeup call. The recent joining of MCP by Lower Shire Giant Sidik Mia has been a game changer. We have seen focus going into how the regions will be crucial as to who will get a lot of votes.

I was not surprised to see a new cabinet reshuffle   and of interest is the appointment of northerner Charles Mhango for the role of attorney general. It is going to be a game of calculated regional strategies from now.

It has been an obvious certainty that the opposition Malawi Congress Party is dominant in the central region of Malawi. The Southern region has become the heartland for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This leaves the Northern Region as a region where no single political party is enjoying dominance. That’s why it is easy to single out; that the northern region will easily come out to be the crucial swing vote that will hand over the presidency to whosoever is going to win in 2019.

Let us not forget however that, the core regionalism voting has watered down over the years mainly due to many political parties being born and getting chunks of votes within the regions. If we go back to 2004 elections at the core of regionalistic votingpatterns, data will reveal that Chakufwa Chihana got 85% of the Northern vote, Kamuzu Banda got  70% of the central region vote and Bakili Muluzi got 75% of the  southern vote .  Yes, the trend might have changed over the years, especially in the dwindling down of the percentages but it cannot be denied that regional voting pattern will likely happen again in the next elections.

Since the 2004 elections MCP has struggled to get votes in the North.  Things were expected to change in the last general election as Richard Msowoya  was nominated as the running mate for  Dr Lazarus Chakwera. While the party made some inroads as in regards to the share of the vote , still  they did not make a bigger impact.  The hope for 2019 was that Msowoya would increase his dominance of the region and hence prop up MCP.

Things don’t look likely though with the coming in of Sidik Mia, as it is quickly becoming a badly kept secret that he will be the running mate for Chakwera in the next elections. It would be interesting then to see how much support the MCP will still have in the North after dumping Msowoya. Will Msowoya still campaign for MCP ? And will the perception of the people from the north, be that of victims who have ruthlessly been dumped by the MCP leader?

DPP have made biggest inroads in the north. From the time when former President Bingu Wa Mutharika gained a number of seats in the north ,  the party has managed to get a good share of the vote in the region even at the time when Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party (PP)  was in government . DPP as a party always has an upper hand over the others especially in there spread of the vote. In the areas where the party is not regarded as the dominant one- they still managed to get a good share of the vote which in the end helps them when the overall share of the vote is counted.

What is interesting is that two other parties  that had dominance of the north in the past are facing two different fortunes and that Alliance for democracy (AFORD) and PP. AFORD is galvanising itself  for a comeback.  Things are looking positive now; it is only the ballot that will test their comeback. AFORD is far from fighting the Presidential race, so even if they win the North in terms of Members of Parliament, it leaves the gap as in whom will the people vote for presidency.

PP on the other hands seems not to know what their future is like. Their leader and former presidency has been out of the country and nobody knows when she will come back – and whether she will decide to stand for presidency again. It’s this uncertainty that will leave PP losing its morale in the region. Lack of clear direction is also what is facing the United Democratic Front (UDF), that’s why it is hard for them to even be thought of capturing the northern vote.

It is based on this analysis that I can pick out the North as the main battleground in the next general election.  With 2019 vote likely to be fought within regional lines, MCP having a stronghold in the centre, DPP dominating the south and having MCP take out a chunk of the Lower Shire with their capture of Sidik Mia, It leaves the Northern Region as that much needed swing vote.  When the battle is fought and then it comes down to numbers- surely the northern vote will be that crucial vote that will hand the keys to the state house to Malawi’s next president.

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I think the game changer in 2019 elections will be Dr saulos chilima forming his own party and picking Richard Msowoya to be his running mate

winston msowoya
Mr.BULLSHIT,the name explains to the readers what type of a person you are.Arabs and Muslims regard Africans as KAFFIRS.With you,Iam not sure whether you have travelled to one of the Middle East States to acknowledge this fact.To them,we are not the same and you can prove this from BOKO HARAAM or AL SHABAAB,they don’t minse the words.If Arab Muslims randomly massacre their own people,what more with Africans? If you land in any Arab Muslim State with a Bible in your hand,that will end your life forthwith but with them,they are free to bring in their QUARAN and build their MOSQUES… Read more »
winston msowoya
The people of the North could be significant players in 2019 elections if they could positively get united.What they could do is to support one Party between the dreaded MCP and tribalistic DPP.When the Northerners take into account the sufferings they had gone through in 32 years of MCP’s barbaric rule,the majority would support and vote for the DPP with lesser evil.However,the MCP seems to have lost symphathy from the overwhelming majority of voters in the sense that Chakwera’s blind-folded notion of trying to isolate Richard Msowoya from the election line-up of 2019 which it seems that the Arab Muslim… Read more »

If Aford is regaining its popularity then I dont see any need sticking with Msowoya. Aford will campaign for all the MPs in the region but on Presidential level they will rally for MCP President. I do not agree with your thinking when you say Arab Muslim Mia. Whats wrong with someone being arab muslim? I thought we are all equal in the eyes of our creator? Please change your mindset of thinking.

Dear Malawians. Are we still blind enough not to see the train leaving us while we are negotiating which part of the country can the President come from. Are we interested in that? What we want in Malawi is the capable president to sail our boat safely to country development and acceptable welfare. Lets wake up and not waste our time in such discussions. This tribal eye cannot move us an inch of development. Lets aim at our family, neighborhood and country development. When we bow to these political tacticians we will never know when they have lifted anchor of… Read more »
Che Wanimiliyoni
If there are three people you can not say with certainty which parties they will stand for in 2019 they are Saulosi Chilima, Richard Msowoya and Atupele Muluzi. and these will be the game changers of the next presidential elections. There is a great chance Sadik Mia may not be the running mate because MCP normally use the vice president for that post. MCP is dead in the South so I doubt if Mia will have enough delegates to propel him to that position. Saulosi Chilima is too gentleman to dump the DPP and join another party but if whatever… Read more »
igama lami
Interesting analysis, though I do not see some aspects that way. I don’t see Chilima + Atupele’s UDF being direct ticket to Sanjika. Chilima (my home boy) should be lauded for his gentlemanly politics but smell the coffee this is MALAWI and politics is not about being gentleman. UDF remaining tatters (kutha ngati makatani) are only in Eastern region and only that just, just just. I hold the view that the Northern region (even Karonga itself) did not reward MCP enough for its choice of a Northerner as Running Mate…reason? Msowoya is a Karongaan and it is my considered view… Read more »

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