Talking Blues: Kamuzu’s citadel at a crossroads

Blues’ Orators, today on Kamuzu Day, let us zoom on his citadel, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

If what its president Dr Lazarus Chakwera, MP said earlier this year is anything to go by, the party is on a massive recruitment drive.

It was January when Chakwera revealed this via Times Television Exclusive saying:

“I am hanging out with everybody in this nation. I am talking to all manners of people in the south and at one stage I will give you their names. I am talking to them about making up their mind to join MCP. Some have decided so, others have not decided yet.”

Pressed to clarify the rumour that ex-United Democratic Front (UDF) member, who defected from UDF to co-found the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), before ditching DPP for Peoples Party (PP), all the while hanging dearly onto a ministerial position – Sidik Mia – will be recycled into MCP; Chakwera responded:

“You need him to confirm but I have asked him to join MCP. He will answer when he wants to just like I have asked several other people to join MCP in the North and in the Centre. I have also asked this great farmer and businessman, Nick Yianakis.”

On his relationship with MCP vice president and Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, his 2014 tripartite elections running mate, Chakwera had nothing but praise to lavish on Msowoya.

“He has been an excellent Speaker and has offered excellent direction and excellent counsel in ways that MCP has benefitted. I don’t know what you mean by squabbles and again it depends on who is telling you what. Because I respect him in Parliament as leader of all of us.”

Unless Msowoya goofs bigtime during the ongoing sitting of parliament, no-one can rebut Chakwera’s assertion that Msowoya is a speaker par excellence.

Cool, calm and collected, of sober temperament, mature, decisive and blessed with objectivity not collectively seen in previous speakers; unless Msowoya blunders in a big way, he will indeed go down the annals of our history as the best speaker ever.

With the rumour-mill alleging that Sidik Mia had set the running mate position as a precondition for joining MCP, Chakwera refused to commit to retaining Msowoya as 2019 running mate, which for several reasons, makes sense.

First, 2019 is far away. Chakwera has the whole of 2018 plus change, to worry about that.

Secondly, serving well as speaker is not a one-way ticket to the state vice-presidency; track record, character, stability and integrity also count. Therefore, Msowoya should continue pursuing excellency and praying.

As of today, Mia is ‘missing in action’.

One does hear rumours that Mia was seen nourishing entire MCP regional committees, or was heard promising this or that greedy MP cash for the 2019 campaign and all sorts of stories.

Politics being what it is, only a fool would believe everything. Come to think of it, politics and rumours are symbiotic twins, one can’t exist without the other.

What is certain however is that of the day or hour when Mia will join MCP, no-one in MCP knows.

May be he won’t.

For all we know, Mia could be working for the ‘external force’ that allegedly finances MCP squabbles. His mission: to sow confusion and discord by dangling millions.

Indicative of a long wait taking its toll, or perhaps due to the massive success of the supposed external force’s Mia-and-promises-of-money strategy, or perhaps due to a combination of all these factors, conflict has now found a home in MCP, Kamuzu’s bastion of ‘law and order’.

Latest nkholokolos are Gustav Kaliwo, estranged Secretary General (SG) and his deputy, Chatonda Kaunda, who called for an emergency convention.

Blues’ Orators, I won’t go into the legal mumble jumble, or the manner of the announcement, but straight into the aftermath.

Pandemonium followed with MCP counter-parading dubious looking ‘executives’, who communicated to the whole nation that as far as they are concerned, an SG, in MCP is “madeya”.

No-one, they implied, should take what an MCP SG and Deputy SG say seriously.

This is, of course, absurd.

Everyone should take an MCP SG seriously. Kamuzu used to take the then MCP SGs, and Kamuzu – if anything – was not an idiot.

If the convention announcement was premature or inaccurate; all the leadership needed to do was to convene and issue a joint statement.

Counter-arguing that Kaliwo is not an elected SG is futile because the MCP executive only has four duly-elected individuals: Chakwera, Msowoya, Chatonda Kaunda, and Tony Kandiero (elected as Treasurer-General but re-assigned a nondescript role by Chakwera).

Meaning that when ‘calling’ for the convention, Kaliwo had with him a 25% of the “elected” NEC plus those who elected the other three in August 2013.

Therefore, Kaliwo’s fellow un-elected executives vilifying him as un-elected – when they too are just a bunch of mere appointees – is akin to the pot calling the kettle black; in the vernacular: anyani okhaokha kusekana dzikundu.

The way forward, short of conciliation, is holding the convention some quarters in MCP are so afraid of.

With hindsight, the now wizened delegates will have the sense to leave no vacancies unfilled to avoid the anarchy now rocking what used to be Kamuzu’s citadel of peace and calm.

Even if Felix Jumbe – as we were told – was power-hungry, Jessie Kabwila disrespectful, and Joseph Njobvuyalema filled with jealousy; Kaliwo and convention-elected Chatonda joining the nkholokolo bandwagon are two too many!

Blues’ Orators, MCP is at a crossroads.

The course of action MCP takes will result either in attracting or nauseating voters-to-be. The later will see many of the current MPs monitoring 2019-2024 parliamentary debates on ZBS radio, like we do.

All things considered, Kamuzu should thank goodness that he didn’t live to see his beloved MCP falling apart amidst yet another wait for a ‘saviour’ whose day and hour of coming, no one knows!

Join me, Blues’ Orators, as I heartily wish members of MCP, the blissful oasis of the ‘Father and Founder of Contact and Dialogue’, a Happy Kamuzu Day!

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The article first appeared in Sunday Times newspaper

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Guest
Well articulated. Good English. Well balanced. Sober analysis. But….. Courts have prevented the old MCP office holders from demonstrating interest in running executive affairs of the Party. Courts are very powerful mind you. I like your conspiracy about Sidik Mia sponsoring the “nkholokolo” as a way of aligning himself. You could be right. But DO NOT underrate Chakwera. He is now not only a politician; he is also a philosopher by qualification! Many individuals focus on the pastor he, and disregard these other two aspects. He is good at playing his cards, I reckon. And also, he is not an… Read more »
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