“If they don’t invite you to the party today; strive to be the reason they “try” to celebrate with you tomorrow!” -Qwana Reynolds-Fraiser-USA Author
In my last entry I pointed out that democracy is an expensive undertaking that requires not only financial resources but also personal sacrifices. I said people who subscribe to ethos of true democracy know that the democratic political game is a give and take affair; not getting everything your way and as per your ambitions and desires.
And today I have to add that political leadership in a democracy is about taking calculated risks. Just like in any other business venture where the ultimate goal is to realize good return on investment in the name of profits, in democracy political leadership’s return on investment is the voting populace and without taking risks, no political leader would survive in a democracy where numbers, just like good profits, count more than anything else.
Writer T.S. Eliot actually says that only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go; meaning that if you don’t take the risk, as a leader, you would not be able to navigate through the political challenges and go far on the political road.
The down thing with political risks are that no matter how calculative you might be, your final fate is always in the hands of the electorates at the ballot box. Your job ends at making difficult decisions which end up gratifying some people while at the same time astonishing and annoying others.
In a game of politics, a leader can never be right or good to everyone, however, no matter the how destructive it may sound to others, such tough and hard decisions have to be made. Further to the paradox of politics in a democracy is that it is the same hard and difficult decisions that break or make a politician a hero. And unfortunately there is no any other third option or you quit the game.
Now, it is interesting that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) national executive committee (NEC) and its leadership has finally decided to suspend the party’s first vice president Richard Msowoya and Secretary General (SG) Gustav Kaliwo pending disciplinary action for what those who made the decision called “causing confusion in the main opposition party”.
Do not mind about all the jargons and arguments being put forward about the MCP not following its own Constitution in the decision, since Article 14 of the party’s Constitution clearly gives powers to NEC to suspend or even dismiss a member if he or she has committed a serious and persistent breach under the Constitution.
And provided the procedure for such action shall conform to the rules of natural justice that the accused be heard. In all essence if all the accusations that we have been hearing against the ‘troublemakers’ are true then nothing could not be more serious and persistent in breaching the Constitution of any party.
Constitution or no Constitution, what is clear is that this is what a political game is all about and in the MCP the game has started in earnest. It is also apparent that the MCP Leader Lazarus Chakwera is now losing his pastoral self (as well as his patience with wayward members regardless of their standing in the party) and quickly learning the political game.
During the meeting the MCP NEC also dismissed one of the ‘longtime’ troublemakers former Spokeswoman Jessie Kabwila, and suspended Director of Foreign Affairs Tony Kandiero and Second Deputy Secretary General Chatonda Kaunda.
Now, we are told that this decision was made in the absence of Msowoya and Kaliwo, yet the two were invited to the NEC meeting; to be heard I suppose. Again we are told that Chakwera called for the meeting to try to find a way of resolving the internal wrangles currently troubling the party.
Sincerely, I for one, I have not shed a tear for Msowoya for being a political cry baby in his quest to see to it that he is not challenged at the Convention as the party’s vice President. I said it and I repeat, it is political naivety, pettiness and immaturity for Msowoya and his team to expect everybody cry for them just because one Sidik Mia declared his interest to contest as the party’s vice President, yet the party is expected to hold a Convention where delegates will have a final say on each aspirant. All what Msowoya was supposed to be doing is to use all his political wits, intelligence and resources to ensure that he outplays Mia instead of crying foul ahead of the actual fight.
Again, today it would be foolhardy for Msowoya and his team of ‘troublemakers’ to expect sympathy from some of us when they made a choice to absent themselves from a NEC meeting which they certainly knew was meant to hear each side out and work out a way forward and put back on track the party’s troubled journey as it gets set for the 2019 polls.
This absence could only be interpreted in two ways: either Msowoya and his men inwardly acknowledged that they are in the wrong and anticipated what befell them, or the team does not wish the party well and have the mentality of ‘if I cannot have it, no one else should’. Unfortunately, this is the same mentality which destroyed the once mighty United Democratic Front (UDF), which through the selfish maneuvers of the then State President Bakili Muluzi, sold its soul and everything else so cheaply to Bingu wa Mutharika just because Muluzi thought that if he could not be the President no one within the then UDF hierarchy should have the seat.
Interesting, Muluzi repeated his selfishness in 2009 when he teamed up with MCP’s John Tembo just to keep on frustrating many more hopefuls in the UDF or probably he was buying time to have his son come of age to lead the party. Unfortunately, today his son is leading a party which is but just a skeleton of itself. And I bet, if Msowoya and his troop of ‘troublemakers’ are not careful they might also be pushing themselves to an early twilight of their political careers.
Personally, I have a lot of respect for Msowoya, who until recently has shown rare political leadership as Speaker of the National Assembly. We are told that the party will have these wayward suspended members go through a disciplinary hearing before their fate is concluded, and my free advice to Msowoya if he would want to save his lost reputation, is to make himself available and go through the disciplinary process and be vindicated that he is not in the wrong or have NEC or anyone else prove his waywardness in an open disciplinary hearing process where he would also be accorded the chance to defend himself and argue his case.
If Msowoya could go through that process and win his case, I challenge that he will go through the party’s Convention set for April 4 and 8 as an unstoppable contender to any position in the party, as by then he would have left his party colleagues including Chakwera himself with damaged reputation which could be difficult to repair.
Nevertheless, as it is at the moment Chakwera has clearly won the first round of the fight against his detractors-imagined or real-as he has shown that he is a leader who can lead the party into making tough and difficult decisions when it matters most. This is indeed a tough decision for the MCP and Chakwera but at the end of the day decisions-whether tough or not-have to be made and casualties will always be there.
This is not to say that Chakwera has the ultimate prize, this is yet to come since the MCP’s decision can make the dice roll to either sides with any of the two emerging a winner or a loser; the only prayer though is that let us be spared of the bloodshed that characterized the MCP infighting of late Gwanda Chakuamba and John Tembo.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :