On the Road to 2014:Phoya – guided by principles or greed?

HDP’s new-year 2012 resolution:

Malawi as a country is in dire need of mature, serious and focused leadership if it is to be saved from the path of destruction which it has taken.”

This was Henry Duncan Dama Phoya speaking at a press conference on January 10, 2012 when he officially joined the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

He went on to trash new political parties of which the Peoples Party (PP) was and is still one.

“For some time now Malawi’s political arena has been full of political experiments. These political experiments, usually in the form of new political parties, and untried, untested and inexperienced politicians, have not been to the well-being of mother Malawi.”

He did not stop there, “I did not want to be part of such experiments by forming a new political party, for Malawi is bleeding, Malawi is haemorrhaging and Malawi cannot afford the luxury of any further political experiments.”

Phoya: Learnt a bitter lesson

He then pledged to work hard in revamping the “tried and tested” MCP so that it appeals to many people, including the youth, to increase its chances of winning 2014 general elections.

“From the problems the country has been facing all along I have always been thinking of the MCP. Time has come now for the young generation to take a closer look at the MCP. MCP is a tried and tested party.”

“The young people have been extremely disappointed with the way leaders handled themselves after 1994. I will take to the MCP leadership the aspiration and the needs of the young people,” said Phoya, stressing that he was joining the party as an ordinary member.

HDP’s Eureka!

Just last week Phoya deserted the “tried and tested” MCP for the “political experiment” called PP. Vindicating his departure, he says he has just joined the ranks of Sir Alexander Fleming. Like Sir Alexander Fleming who ‘accidentally’ discovered penicillin which continues to save millions of lives to date, HDP say he has also – by chance – stumbled on a top secret.

He has discovered that the MCP is not a national party after all.

“I have learnt a bitter lesson. When I was joining the MCP I had good intentions, thinking that I was joining a national party. But within a short period of time, I learnt that MCP cannot accommodate wholeheartedly anybody who doesn’t come from the central region.

“I can say that very openly here; I was rejected by the party hierarchy. The only person who genuinely welcomed me was the MCP president himself John Tembo. The rest of the leadership completely rejected me,” Phoya said.

What HDP did not say is something that his detractors often allude to. When HDP’s name crops up in leadership and other debates, allegations to the effect that he is a loner, not sociable  and that he fails to make friends easily often come up.

Could this be the real reason for his failure to mingle in MCP? Very likely.

Now, if HDP has followers, they are now confused but nonetheless richer. Richer in the sense that they now have UDF’s yellow cloth,  DPP’s blue, MCP’s green and now PP’s orange colours in their wardrobes. And the chitenjes come with free T-Shirts too.

Quite an assortment of colours in one’s wardrobe I should say, and at the rate he is going, they will soon have a collection of all the colours of the rainbow.

The downside of freedom of association:

Having said that, freedom of association is a right that we should all inalienably enjoy as guaranteed by the constitution – and HDP cannot be faulted in this regard and he is determined to enjoy this freedom to the max.

Moreover as far as the constitution goes, one could wake up on one Monday morning and quit the MCP to join UDF; come the afternoon, one could leave the UDF to join DPP; and then an hour later one can go on to join PP  – without having committed a single crime.

Again, outside marriage, one could easily switch sexual partners with the same reckless abandon, and get away with it – almost. The Catch-22 is that this sort of behaviour, although one could argue to be acting entirely within their legal rights, is not only risky but is also looked at with disdain.

It is called immorality to use a softer word, or prostitution if you prefer a stronger word. And HDP is risking being classified as a politician of questionable morals or worse, a prostitute.

HDP arguments’ Achilles heel:

The thing is: HDP cannot claim to have “just discovered” that the MCP – a ranking party of darkness and death – derives its base only from the central region.

That the MCP more or less only exists in the centre became clear to every Jim and Jack a long way back. In fact during the time of the referendum.

And in all general elections thereafter, the MCP has been fairing badly everywhere except in the central region. And what is more, “regionalitis” is a disease suffered by all parties in Malawi with the only exception being DPP’s victory in 2009.

PP cannot be referred to as a national party because it is yet to be tested at the polls. Then and only then, could one safely jump ship from a regional party to a national party – should PP amass votes from all over.

HDP’s rationale therefore does not hold even a drop of water.

Selling the Youth and Change Agenda for a song:

All this however is inconsequential; the major problem for the younger generation is that several people have been championing the fact that it is time for the youth to take over. The youth are clamouring for new and young faces.

And HDP, alongside other youngsters like Atupele Muluzi, formerly of the soon to be buried “Agenda for Change” who is now care of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, were featuring highly in debates for potential.

Now if these young leaders, whom the youth want to look up to, display:

1.     Amateurish inability to think through their moves,

2.     Political inconsistency,

3.     Elements of being driven by greed and office-seeking behaviour,

4.     Tendencies to wallow in any sort of mediocrity and more importantly

5.     Failure to appreciate that in a democracy, one can be equally effective by serving in the opposition.

Where does this leave the youth?  

This is exactly why old-timers, like John Tembo, will continue to lord it over the youth. When someone dangles a scone the youth are quick to take a bite, without giving a thought about the long term.

If people like HDP – complete with honours degrees and family names that have a record in the history of Malawi – can fall prey to very short term (2 year at most) appointments, what chances does the nameless average Malawian youth have?

And by the way, talking about MCP being a regional party, there is one Mayi Rosemary Dinala who, last time I checked, was neither a Chewa nor a gule wamkulu dancer, what was it that HDP was talking about?


If we the youth must use and change political parties like condoms, then let us do so quietly and honourably in order not to risk losing credibility with arguments that are far from convincing and that cannot stand to scrutiny nor the test of the time.

Personally, I now fear for the youths and the agenda for change. As to HDP’s future prospects: he has just redefined the meaning of his initials. HDP might as well stand for Highly Deceptive Politician – one not to be trusted.

As for the road to the State House in 2014 or in the foreseeable future, HDP would be better off practicing high and long jump and acrobatics for the day that he will want to jump ship from the PP.

His chances on the road to 2014 or 2019 are now next to nil and as far as these series of articles are concerned, consider him written off.

Appeal to genuine youthful leaders:

When and whence cometh a genuine principled youthful prospect?

According to Dr Chinsinga, Atupele Muluzi’s chances of campaigning and hence “fighting” a government he is serving are also nil. If PP wins in 2014 for lack of alternatives – which we are slowly heading to, Atupele could be silences by yet another scone.

And therefore will not be able to sell his change agenda between 2014 and 2019 and what’s more – he could get dirt on his hands because a lot of things can go wrong in an inadvertent government.

Any courageous  youths out there to replace these sell-outs?


*Wise One from the East

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