The outcome of the just ended governing People’s Party’s convention confirms the suspicions of some people who closely watch Malawi politics.T
he political analysts fear what they consider to be the surreptitious turning of Pres Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party (PP) into another secret faction of the United Democratic Front (UDF) which ruled Malawi from 1994-2004 under Bakili Muluzi.
At last week's PP’s first convention, most top positions were swept by former UDF gurus.
A political analyst at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, who opted for anonymity, told MaraPost that prior to the PP’s convention, the UDF held secret meetings aimed at brainstorming means to infiltrate Banda’s PP before the May 2014 general elections.
“Are you not surprised that PP’s important figures like Kunkuyu merely got 39 votes against 939,” one political commentator questioned. “Who is not UDF or DPP amongst these PP’s newly elected top gurus? Cassim Chilumpha, Second vice president, Sidik Mia, Third vice president, Henry Chibwana, Secretary General, Yusuf Matumula, Second Deputy Treasurer General, and many more.”
Ironically, even the majority said PP losers in this convention were once UDF top leaders: Brown Mpinganjira, Clement Stambuli and Paul Maulidi. He further argues that even Pres Banda herself and Vice President Khumbo Kachali must also first be viewed as former UDF top leaders before they are defectors from DPP.
This analyst says what just happened at the PP convention should make former president Muluzi happy as his UDF remains in power; whether in the name of PP, DPP or UDF, and that come May 2014 these UDF faces are likely to remain in power up to May 2019.
Another Chancellor College political analyst said that “this is UDF’s plot to maintain political patronage.
“UDF gurus maintain that UDF has never lost in any general elections and must thus remain in power and that what must change are merely the faces on the driving seat,” he points out.
He said one strategy agreed in these secrete meetings was to elect at PP’s convention people who had been UDF members. On investigating why former UDF founding member, Mpinganjira, hopelessly lost, a senior UDF member present at the secret meetings reveals that the conversion of Mpinganjira into a devout born-again Christian invalidates his capacity as a “good” UDF politician.
Secondly, he argues, “only UDF former members strategically competed in these top positions, and unfortunately Mpinganjira wasn’t the most favorite.”
He laments that “Malawians must be scared with such a development as they [Malawians] are the worst losers when these UDF thugs inconspicuously come back, and to practically be in power for 25 years by 2019 if PP or DPP wins the May 2014 general elections.”
An argument can be made that UDF begot DPP which begot PP, making UDF conspicuously in power from 1994 to 2004 and inconspicuously in power since 2004 to date.
“What we have had in power since 1994 is the same old UDF,” says Derrick Mwakabana, a political studies scholar at Chancellor College.
It’s a lack of political ideology which remains a major challenge in Malawian politics, says Mwakabana. He says Malawian political parties only differ in their manifestos and not ideologies, contrary to Western democracies. He argues, for instance, that in the Unites States of America, Democrats believe in fundamental freedoms and human rights for all while Republicans believe in hard core capitalism and that these philosophies form the basis for their party manifestos.
He cites Obama’s Health Care for all as development policy intrinsically embedded within the political philosophy of Democrats.
“What does PP believe in that is different from DPP’s and UDF’s?” Mwakabana asks. “Does one’s break away from UDF to PP mean anything to Malawians other than a search for selfish economic opportunities?”
He regrets that with such political patronage UDF has rendered Malawi’s democracy worthless up to date because the same people have tended to enrich themselves at the expense of Malawi’s economic growth.
There’s a consensus among the political observers interviewed for this report. They argue that Malawians must ask themselves if they are ready to keep UDF in power for over 30 years just like it was with the country’s first president Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party.
Without a break from the past, they warn that Malawians may never see the dividend of multiparty democracy and will continue to suffer corruption, entrenchment of poverty and underdevelopment.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction without acknowledgment prohibited