Timau: Malawi ruling PP, ‘old wine in new bottles’

They are all grinning with joy and flatteringly convinced that their recently concluded National Convention, where a new National Executive Committee was elected, as a success and a true reflection of the ideals that the party stands for—Unity, Equity and Development.

“Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Do the voters think on the same lines as Eleanor Roosevelt or they agree with Peoples Party cadres?

What are the electorate who happen to be Malawians saying about the PP convention? Are the people not calling it ‘old wine in new bottles?’

The Timau Crew will give you a post-mortem of the recently concluded PP convention and leave the rest to public debate.

Recycled: Ken Kandodo, Reen Kachere and Cassim Chilumpha

The Convention

National conventions are part of the electoral process. Whether these conventions are a vital part of the Malawian political constitution, though, is open to discussion. However they bring another image to a political party and its leadership as leaders are elected and not appointed.

The ruling People’s Party had their convention on 27th August, 2012 where they elected new office bearers and the hall was well decorated and people well fed. That is about all we can report on the convention.

People are worried that what PP has done is simply said; old wine in new bottles; sample these appointments:

  •     Cassim Chilumpha: UDF, Independent, DPP, –Vice President
  •     Sadik Mia: UDF, DPP—Vice President
  •     Hophmally Makande: UDF,NDA, UDF –Publicity Secretary
  •     Ken Msonda: UDF, NDA, DPP -deputy publicity Secretary
  •     Ken Lipenga: UDF, DPP-Economic Advisor
  •     Ralph Kasambara: DPP, PP, CODE- Legal Advisor
  •     Henry Phoya: UDF, DPP, MCP-Deputy Legal Advisor
  •     Zikhale Ng’oma: UDF, UP, DPP, NRP, DPP -Deputy Campaign Director …and the list is too long.
  •  Harry Mkandawire: Aford, UDF, DPP, PDM – Treasurer General

 

Malawian politicians never quit politics willingly, because of what they might get in return. Malawi government is the single biggest employer in the country and is riddled with accusations and counter-accusations of corruption. The networking and inner-cycled lobbying that result once a new leadership goes to State House is as competitive as it is corrupting.

If you doubt our submission, watch the Malawian political landscape when President Bingu wa Mutharika died. Our political houses are full of recycled politicians. However, Her Excellency, Mrs Joyce Banda has counselled us not to call them recycled politicians but experienced politicians. By the Presidents assent you can see that in Malawi, leadership value recycled politicians highly and they are regarded as a huge political asset. In contrast, critics argue that their spiteful old habits refuse to die even if they change parties while on the other hand, defenders say that recycled politicians know exactly what the people want but why is it that the same villagers seem to doubt the recycled politicians contributions to Malawi’s politics.

Analysts are arguing that PP does not tread carefully it might find itself in deep waters. The voters are heard whispering that it is the very people who mislead Bakili Muluzi and then Bingu that have been propelled to the top. People are crying that the same names that were on top of corruption in both Bakili and Bingu’s regimes have resurfaced. The same people who bended the laws to persecute others are there again in the top hierarchy.

Conventions can build or destroy a party. Already the original founders of PP are crying foul as they have been left out in the cold; imagine all that work they did to promote the party only to be sidelined by people who were persecuting them when they were in DPP.

Once upon a time, when MCP tried to hold one, there were pangas brandished as two factions emerged, that of John Tembo and Gwanda Chakuamba. When UDF did theirs in 2009, it was just there to endorse Muluzi who later on was rejected by the electoral commission.

The political ‘bloodshed’ spilt in the past has meant that conventions are now nothing more than a media event. In the recent past national conventions have served only to highlight just how fragmented a party can be and this does not serve them well in the public eye.

OUR TAKE

So what is the purpose of the national conventions?  These are political meetings of delegates of a political party at national level to select candidates for office and to decide party policies. As representative organs of Political parties, party conventions—or party conferences as they are commonly called in Europe —also may elect executive committees of the parties and adopt rules governing the party’s organization. In practice they also act as rallies for the election campaigns that follow, what we are trying to say here is that every party’s manifesto is announced. This is essentially what any party plans to do if elected by the people. Was this the case at the just ended highly eulogised PP convention? We are yet to be told. All we are hearing are comments on positions and this vindicates our point on recycled politicians that they are very greedy. They are not telling the electorate about any manifestos agreed at the convention or what plans the PP wants to use as they finish up DPP’s term of office. We, the Timau Crew, are worried that people are still being taken for granted.

 

POSITIONS

We, the Timau Crew are not worried as to who takes what positions after all as the President says we need to fuse young and up coming politicians with experienced dudes. BUT why fill up all new bottles with the same old wine?  Moses Kunkuyu could have been a better publicity Secretary, Chikavu Nyirenda could have been a better Economic Advisor of the party, the likes of  Joseph Chinkwemba, could even have been let to become  vice President, that way we blend new and experienced people. We are worried because at the end of the day leadership is not walking the talk. Take for instance; State House press secretariat is completely new, with the likes of Steve Nhlane, Ruth Govati, Brian Banda, Tusekele Mwanyongo hence we do not expect the same old Ntaba way of doing things. Why did the convention not do the same with the party top brass?

 

THE CONVENTION

The PP convention could have been an opportunity for the party to energise party members, network, and coordinate strategies. Alas! It has left many founding members frustrated. The convention could also have provided the newly elected people with a national spotlight and media coverage with most attention paid to new candidate’s acceptance speeches deliberately aimed at capturing the voters mind in contrast, it did not all work out that way, even if it did, voters know that most of the elected people are recycled politicians full of ravenousness.

 

Death Plot

Her Excellency Joyce Banda said that there was an attempt made on her life in 2010 when she was Malawi’s vice president opposed to the country’s president Bingu wa Mutharika, according to French News Agency (AFP) which quoted South Africa’s Sunday Times.

 

“I was in car number five when they hit the car I was supposed to be in. A truck came from the bush full of maize,” the Sunday Times quoted Banda as saying. “I was denied access to the accident report until now that I’m president. I’ve seen that the truck was owned by the system. They hit where I was supposed to sit.”

Now, look at the people elected at the convention. Are they not the same people who were in the system that wanted to assassinate Joyce Banda?

The President is now having breakfast at State House with the very people who plotted against her in 2010. Did the delegates consider some of these things? How do we attest that these people do not have one leg in PP and another in DPP? We feel very stunned that humble people who were with the President when she was in trouble have been dumped and the ones who were making her day black have been preferred.

We do agree that there are no permanent political enemies but the value of friendship is often the result of friends consistently demonstrating sympathy and empathy. Are these DPP breakouts demonstrating the same?

“Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about   who came, and never left your side…”– Unknown Authour-1638.

These conventions! What a fallacy?  They are now back since PP has set the ball rolling. They will soon be in fashion like bridal showers.

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