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Club of chameleons

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With Madalitso Musa:

BAGUS—I have moved on personal grounds

I was stunned by the frenzy among Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) sycophants when the once-upon-a-time political marvel, Salim Bagus, announced his departure from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which he joined not more than a year ago.

Bagus, to those who would like a stroll in history, was once United Democratic Front (UDF) and, if my memory is serving me right, he also had a dalliance with the DPP before jumping ship to the People’s Party (PP) and ended up in the MCP which he has just abandoned.

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While the DPP fanatics were all over the place in jubilation, MCP zealots where up with good riddance statements about a man whose joining of their party not long ago, was, to them, evidence of the party’s growing strength. Things do change in a flash.

What I read from all this is that there is ingrained naivety among political parties and their blind followers and, on the other side, politicians suffer from congenital megalomania which makes them think the world would come to a screeching halt without them.

Once-upon-a-time, when Kennedy Makwangwala was leaving the UDF—a party he was secretary general of— for the PP, he left a stark promise: I am going to destroy the UDF! Perhaps his words have come to pass because since then, the UDF has lost some of its visibility and strength, and it is only mentioned as a lassie available for any willing suitor. But comparatively, it is Makwangwala who slipped into political oblivion.

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My good friend, Ken Msonda, too, has a fantastic story. He, too, was a UDF stalwart known for his tenacity to challenge what he thought was not right. When time had come for him to leave after being lured into the PP, word from him was that PP would become the strongest party with him, the foot soldier, on board. PP eventually came to power but it was not because of the magic of the foot soldier or anyone else but the fatal hand of fate which fell on Bingu wa Mutharika, and, as per dictates of the Constitution, his then estranged deputy Joyce Banda had to ascend to power.

But when it mattered most in the elections of 2014, all those who claimed to have the muscle to lift the PP faltered and the party was booted out. One by one those who professed orange started abandoning the party.

When the DPP wrestled power back, Ken Msonda remained vigilant in highlighting all the ills and evils of the DPP. One would have thought Msonda had a pathological aversion to the DPP. It was only a matter of time when he, smiling gleefully, announced that he had joined the DPP. And he was all praise for the party whose leadership style had given him fodder for criticism.

Look, it is folly on the part of political parties to trust politicians who are sashaying from one side to the other. It beats me that no political party in Malawi has put a premium on honesty and integrity.

Political harlotry in this country is encouraged because our politics is just an arena of shysters that are blown by the wind to where the purse is or where the purse is likely to be found.

When you stock-take the names in all our political parties, you might find out that the most loyal and “disciplined” has only ever subscribed to at least three parties. All of them are political prostitutes who have to tinge of shame. What is more interesting is that these are people who will stand on the podium and castigate a leader or anyone yet the following day sing praise for the person they spoke ill about the previous day. Sadly, you and I clap hands and waste honorifics on people who do not even know the meaning of honour.

Ask me, and I will tell you that all these politicians should never be trusted because it is not you and I they care about but where the gravy train is heading too. These belong to a club of chameleons.

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