Malawi’s governing Peoples Party (PP) at the weekend sent a strong contingent to the lower shire district of Chikhwawa in a bid to cool down tensions that have reached boiling point between the party’s district committee and Transport and Public Infrastructure Minister Sidik Mia.
The tensions emanated last week after Mia, a Chikhwawa Nkombezi parliamentarian announced that he has defected to the ruling party together with his committee from the Democratic Progressive (DPP).
However, this did not go down well with PP’s grass root structures in the area who accused Mia of setting up parallel structures at the expense of existing ones.
The area committees, led by PP’s constituency governor for Nkombezi district Jimmy Zakeyu, also called Mia all sorts of names saying the lower shire political heavy weight is a confusionist and was in the inner circle that ill advised late president Bingu wa Mutharika as such he is not welcome in the new ruling party.
The position taken by the grass root structures was further strengthened by comments made by a senior PP official Rev. Peter Kaleso, the party’s administrative secretary, who asked Mia to make peace with the constituency if he is to remain relevant.
“Mia and the other cabinet ministers who have working relationship with government must go through party structures if they want to join PP. They must make peace with them because they castigated those people before, now Mia and his people must accept that things have changed and that the people they demonised are now bosses so whosoever wants to join us must go through them no matter how rich or popular you are.”
The comments made by Rev. Kaleso and the PP area committees in Chikhwawa did not please the cabinet minister who told The Weekend Nation recently that he already went through the southern province, hence cannot stoop low and go begging to the party structures in his constituency, arguing, “do you think I should go down there and look for those people? No-no-no. I have already been to the region and they welcomed me.”
In view of avoiding a potential cold war between Mia and the PP structures, the party has swiftly responded to the issue by conducting a series of meetings in Makande and Nkombezi districts.
This according to PP southern province governor Ali Mbalaka would help to make the party followers understand that they still have their positions and that Mia and his committee are mere members.
“Yes, I can confirm that there was tension in the area because when Hon. Mia was announcing his defection to PP he came with his whole committee, this did not go down well with our officials in the area who thought the MP was sidelining them and that he wanted to grab their positions and give them to his loyalists.
“However, we have explained to them that Mia would have to use existing PP structures in the constituency and that his previous committee he brought from DPP is not supposed to transact any business in the area on behalf of PP, for now our position is that they are ordinary members so let them work with Mr. Zakeyu who is PP governor for the constituency,” Mbalaka told Nyasa Times.
Meanwhile, political pundits have described the Chikhwawa Nkombezi saga as a tip of an iceberg saying the Mia scenario would haunt the party in all the constituencies where sitting legislators have joined the ruling party as the MPs would be committing political suicide if they snub their committees to work with PP structures and vice versa.
Such is the political headache that President Mrs. Joyce Banda and her party politburo would have to carefully calculate and solve swiftly to avoid creating an unnecessary disaffection within its structures.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :