Phoya: A politician others need to emulate

As soon as MIJ FM announced that fifteen Democratic Progressive Party members of parliament were to publicize their resignation from the party, my keen interest was only on the other fourteen. The name Henry Duncan Phoya (HDP)was obvious. The remaining puzzle was his next resolution, whether founding a new party, be independent or join the already existing parties.

Tuesday, 10th January 2012 had our questions and suppositionsanswered. The media told us the man in the headlines had joined the once mighty Malawi Congress Party. This was seven months after his former DPP expelled him for disloyalty after he refused to vote for Injunctions Bill and labeled same a ‘bad law’.

The whole episode (from July 2011 to date without taking a single event in particular) is of great significance as it offers lessons, which other politicians need to follow.

Phoya: Above petty politics

To begin with, the way Phoya found himself expelled from DPP is of noble cause. Mind you he little or nothing was known as to whether he had other dissents with party leadership and members apart from the cited bill, among others. For him to stand out and defend Malawians at the expense of the luxurious in the ruling DPP was not a mean decisions. He might have known of the impending removal of his position in legal affairs of parliament, shunning from fellow DPP members and utmost his expulsion from the party.

Secondly, ever since DPP expelled HDP, he talked less evil of the party. While not regretting the expulsion he still offered suggestions on how the DDP would win back the confidence from masses. This is atypical of politicians. They tend to castigating former parties and make masses think they are were expelled or forced to resign because of their ‘cleanliness’ among the dirty players. This party ushered him into parliament, and he loved it; it was of essence to acknowledge what it did for him. This lacks among politicians.

Thirdly, although some suggested to him that he was the right candidate to unseat DPP in 2014 should he stand as a presidential candidate, Phoya regarded such as mere opinions and never calculated his moves basing on these speculations. History shows how politicians gather illogical confidence just from few opportunistic friends that encourage them to be on their own. The parties that are registered in this manner never last, they have no structures, and their party presidents occupy remaining position.

The above scenario of politicians wanting to lead portrays who they really are, greedy, egocentrics, who are not necessarily to help in developing this nation but rather to enrich themselves. To me, any patriotic Malawian who really has our plight at heart would be willing and be satisfied to give out his best in any capacity and position, whether in politics or not, presidency or mere member of the party.

By this, I do not deny that by being in the top position, one has control of resources and powers that (if he/she really represent and love your people) he/she can bring in meaningful change to Malawians. However, failure to manage own family, business or says a small community should tell us how miserable it would be to run a big organization, a country for that matter.

The time honorable Phoya took to decide which way to go makes him admirable as well. Seven months was enough to come up with mature decision. Politicians should not make decisions out of frustrations. Forming new political parties just to avenge the former party that expelled you is illogical and disastrous for this country’s democracy.

HDP is now a mere member of MCP. That he has been promised a running mate position or anything let them be rumors- after all, he is a politician. The point is that forming his own party would make him an automatic ‘Tcheya’, ‘patron’, ‘president’ and ‘presidential candidate’ in 2014, however, that would not benefit Malawians.

Lastly, the decision to join MCP. HDP would have joined any party especially this time as we are approaching 2014 and parties are looking for personalities that are appealing to masses. He would alternatively have mended fences with DPP are rejoin it. While other major parties are facing intra-party fighting, how different is MCP?

The problems in the party cannot be overlooked. However, the point is that Malawi had already had too many political parties, of which ideologies are similar. Each one (politicians inclusive) is free to quit, join or form a group, but where parties are similar in its operations, manifestos and ideologies, joining an already existing party is wise than forming a new party, which in the long run weaken the democracy.

The above discussion deliberately overlooks particular decisions and events in the whole episode. It should also be noted to the reader that much care has been taken to view positive lessons that other politicians can learn from Phoya.

Notwithstanding the above, Phoya remains a politician, he might have displayed a different personality of rare Malawian politicians, however this rarity has to be test with time as event continue to be unfold. Really, he might have been swayed with rich position in the MCP, or the latter wants to use him to appeal to the southerners, or of course any other reasons. Whichever, politics is not all about kutukwanizana (castigation), kumvetsana kuwawa (revenging), forming political parties for the sake of name making and out of frustrations. I finish.

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