Since losing power in 2005 when former president Bingu wa Mutharika sold the United Democratic Front (UDF) a dummy to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the UDF has not appeared as strong as it used to be before 2005.
The last attempt to convince people was between 2011 and 2013 when the party’s leader, Atupele Muluzi, came with what was called Agenda for Change. But that agenda somehow lost relevance when Muluzi chose to join the Cabinet of former president Joyce Banda. It was, therefore, not surprising that, in the 2014 general elections, the UDF performed dismally, coming a distant fourth since people were left confused on the party’s stand.
After the 2014 election, the UDF got itself into an unclear alliance with the governing DPP. The alliance of the two parties has left some of UDF’s supporters in the dark because of lack of clarity on the terms of the union. The party’s PR team has laboured to justify the union but, still, nothing clear has come out of it.
The recent development that the party is going to hold an elective convention sounds good for democracy but it remains unclear what the party stands for or whether it will go solo in the next elections, which are less than two years away.
UDF has been there since the fight for multiparty democracy and it is sad news that the party appears to have lost direction and it cannot clearly tell Malawians what it now stands for.
The inconsistency and the hide-and-seek game which the UDF leadership is playing are not only detrimental to the party but a blow to democracy in Malawi.
Malawi needs strong opposition with focused leadership to give the citizenry hope for alternative government. What the UDF is doing leaves a lot to be desired and is a typical example of lack of focus for a political party of its stature.
We would like to appeal to all political parties in the country to have focus and be resolute in their beliefs so that Malawians have choices when it comes to elections.
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