Democratic Progressive’s Party’s heavy losses in by-elections on 17 October is a prima facie sign that people’s trust in the ruling party is waning. For a long time, President Mutharika and his DPP have taken people for granted. They have erroneously believed that because they are in power they can to do anything and get away with it. But politics in a democratic environment does not work that way. Good governance and being responsive to the demands and inputs from society is more important than pursuing parochial interests to benefit a few people at the expense of the majority .
DPP is indeed paying the price for their arrogance and bad governance They have been very resistant to suggestions to govern the country for the benefit of all Malawi. They do not listen to anyone.
DPP was banking on the old political support of 2014. They forgot that people’s political culture ( perceptions, attitudes, values, preferences etc) change over time depending on how the country is run. This is where DPP has missed the plot. They thought they were still enjoying the support of everyone when they were out of touch with people’s aspirations and expectations.
For example, many Malawians are unhappy with the way President Mutharika appoints people in positions. Even when they have suggested that appointments be made on merit, Mutharika has ignored the suggestion and continues to make appointments based on regionalism and nepotism. Many top positions in the civil service and state-owned enterprises are given to those from the south, especially the Lohmwe belt, a develop that has made people from other regions feel insignificant and segregated.
Embarrassingly, some individuals who are involved in cashgate have been appointed to senior positions or transferred to other institutions because of political links. This has raised the question of integrity of the appointed individuals.
Corruption and incompetence has also characterised DPP government. DPP politicians and those connected to them continue to milk government institutions through dubious tenders or outright abuse of resources for political ends. Equally, suppliers with political connections are given preferential treatment to supply goods and services. Many tenders are used as a conduit to siphon off public resources both in government and parastatals. Some contractors are awarded jobs without tender process which is fuelling corruption. Many of them overcharge government for poor work and no one makes them accountable.
Misuse of public resources by public officials and civil servants is rampant and left unchecked. No tangible action is taken against errant individuals. And so the gravy train has continued. When DPP is criticised for wrongdoing critics get insults from DPP fouled-mouthed politicians. The young cadets, a terrorist wing of DPP, are also contributing to unpopularity of the party. Unfortunately, their seniors do not see this. People who are involved in political violence are cowards because they do not want to face the truth. They use violence as an escape to silence their opponents.
DPP has failed to provide effective leadership at all levels of society. For example, city assemblies, municipal and town councils are dysfunctional. Our cities and towns are an eyesore. Sanitation is very appalling. And no one seems to care. Where is the Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa to provide leadership to make cities and towns jack up performance?
Equally, Minister of Home Affairs Grace Chiumia has also failed to provide leadership to stamp out corruption in Immigration Department. Immigration Officials are now “dobadobas”. Again, where is her voice in the bloodsucker saga sweeping some parts of Southern Region? She is quiet. DPP leadership has failed to be on top of situations. For the most part, President Mutharika and his ministers are disappointingly very slow to act. They fail to make timely responses. Usually, they act after they are criticised or long after others have commented. They have not inspired the nation at all.
The standard of living of the majority of people continues to dwindle due to high cost of living. Sadly, there is very little happening on the ground to get out of the poverty trap because of lack of political will to effect change. Imagine how electricity black outs have been part of us for many years. If government had enough political will, the problem could long have been solved. How can we have the same problem throughout the year for years? Where is leadership? Someone should have been held accountable for this because someone is sleeping on the job! But knowing President Mutharika and his ministers it is business as usual.
These and other factors have conspired to make DPP lose some support. MCP is gaining ground in the Southern Region. The electorate is now moving away from voting for the sake of voting as people in Nsanje have shown. They want substance. And this is good for democracy.
DPP has a huge task to convince the people that it has the right calibre of leaders to take Malawians beyond 2019. Otherwise DPP should be ready to accept defeat. Days of propaganda are long gone. Institutions like MBC cannot influence anyone to vote for DPP unlike rival private media. Even Minister of Information, communication and Technology Nicholas Dausi, Party Spokesperson Francis Katsaila and General Secretary Gelseder Jeffery, whose public relations skills leave a lot to be desired, are not convincing in what they say.
DPP should not waste time reminding people about MCP atrocities. It is true people who lived under MCP suffered in various ways. But time has changed. The majority of the people who are going to vote are the youth who know nothing or little about MCP atrocities because they were too young to remember anything or not yet born.
The youth want jobs, good education etc. They have nothing to do with the old MCP. Some people who suffered under MCP are actually going back MCP after realising that many leaders under multiparty democracy from UDF to DPP are crooks, corrupt and self-serving. It is a poor campaign message to tell the majority of the voters (the youth) not to vote for MCP on the basis of atrocities that were committed in the past. They do not know them.
DPP need to show that they are capable to lead. Unfortunately, they have not demonstrated that. People want to see tangible results, leadership that can tackle corruption decisively, improve their well being and make opportunities accessible to all regardless of where they come from. They want to see all Malawians enjoying economic benefits not just DPP politicians, their families, friends, relatives or regional mates. They want an end to corruption, plunder of public resources and action to solve their problems.
This is time for DPP to listen and do an introspection and govern according to the will of the people. Otherwise ……Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :