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Chilima, Msowoya: Politicians to watch in 2018

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Politicians should ensure clean campaign for 2019 polls

Political battle lines are now drawn. Some politicians are already on political battle frontlines with sharpened tongues to ensure that they get into power after 2019 tripartite elections.

Politicians are now criss-crossing the country, canvassing for votes ahead of the highly contentious elections; however, it is sad that defamation, slander and character assassination are now back.

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Late Charles Kamphulusa, former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) district chairperson for Blantyre, and late John Kapito, former United Democratic Front (UDF) regional governor for the South, should be smiling in their graves.

The two fallen politicians are infamous for slander and character assassination against their political opponents and their masters were more than happy to use, misuse and abuse them in political rallies.

It is sad that in 2018, politicians should still be using the same old propaganda and political strategies used in the run-up to the 1993 referendum and 1994 general election to call each other names.

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I listened to the speeches at a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) political rally at Ngabu in Chikhwawa on Sunday.

Let me say I was impressed with the speech by President Peter Mutharika.

He dwelt on what his government has done, is doing and intends to do for Malawians in terms of development.

This is what Malawians want to hear. This is civilised politics. This is mature and advanced politics for this century. This is what his ‘boys’ need to emulate.

I also took time to listen to the DPP Regional Governor for the South, my old good friend Charles Mchacha, and the maverick Information Minister Nicholas Dausi, another old good friend of mine.

Without looking at their faces, I can say without any fear of contradiction that I was not impressed with their political rhetoric, especially their attacks on MCP President Lazarus Chakwera, MCP aspiring vice president Sidik Mia and MCP as a political party.

DPP officials can do much better than this.

Mutharika and DPP can win the election even without attacking political opponents; actually the attack on the MCP gurus can earn their political opponents sympathy votes.

Mutharika and DPP crashed the then incumbent president Joyce Banda (JB) and her People’s Party and Chakwera and his MCP at the ballot box in 2014 without any attack on their political opponents.

Mutharika and DPP went across the country, begging for votes on clean campaign strategy, telling people what they would do to the people in terms of development once voted into power.

On the other hand, JB and her PP were busy attacking Mutharika and his DPP, parading chief Lundu and other traditional leaders on State-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), telling people not to vote for Mutharika because Malawi was not a monarchy which should have brothers succeed each other.

Mutharika and his DPP ignored all the personal attacks from PP operatives.

Mutharika and his DPP came out clean, unscathed after the election; leaving JB terribly wounded and, in shame, she ran away from the country seeking self-imposed exile in South Africa and later in the US.

PP is in a chaotic state compounded by the prolonged absence of its founding leader JB.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau has said it is investigating her over the Mudzi Transformation Trust donations while director of public prosecutions says Banda is wanted in connection with the K30 billion Cashgate.

Mutharika and his political advisers Francis Mphepo and Hetherwick Ntaba should instead capitalise on the endless political power struggle in MCP that is likely to weaken it if unchecked.

DPP can do this even without attacking MCP party officials.

This would show Malawians that DPP is more mature than ever before.

Mutharika should be cautious about politicians in his camp who resort to personal attacks on political opponents because when DPP loses the election, the same politicians will leave him and DPP to join the same politicians and the party they are attacking if they win the election.

The 2012 scenario after the sudden death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika whereby senior politicians from DPP quickly left the party to join PP for lucrative government positions should serve as an example.

Mutharika should be cautious about chiefs who insulted him on MBC soon after DPP was kicked out of power following the death of his brother Bingu.

Mutharika should know that the love from some of these so-called men of God is cosmetic as they insulted him and aligned themselves to JB and her PP soon after DPP was out of power.

Mutharika should know that the same women who are dancing for him left him in 2012 to dance for JB after the death of Bingu.

This shows that most of the politicians and people who claim to love him now do not love him. They are not in DPP for him. They are actually in DPP for money.

This is why I say Malawi needs a clean campaign. The country needs an organisation that should monitor and register unclean campaign by bad-mouthed politicians.

I have in mind Centre for Multiparty Democracy which I feel should be empowered to carry out this task without fear or favour.

Bad-mouthing and political violence should be a thing of the past.

After all, most of the voters in Malawi are young who are most of the times glued to social media and are well read and travelled that they know what is civilised politics and what is uncivilised politics.

These trendy young voters hate political bad-mouthing and political violence, so stop this and adopt clean campaign for clean propaganda to make the 2019 elections clean, free, fair and transparent. The process starts today and now!

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