With about three weeks to go before the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) holds by-elections in Lilongwe City South Constituency, a lot is happening behind the scenes.
After the Supreme Court of appeal ruled that there should be a re-run of elections in the constituency following irregularities that marred the 2014 polls, many expected Bentley Namasasu to contest again in the polls scheduled for October 17.
Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dumped Namasasu for another candidate, Reuben Ngwenya, Namasasu showed interest in contesting as an independent candidate.
And, indeed, Namasasu was seen attending preparatory meetings for the elections. It was indeed justifiable for him to participate. If indeed he won the 2014 elections, this was his time to prove his critics wrong.
But his recent change of mind is surprising. As we are about to recover from the shock, there is a rumour that the DPP-led government is preparing to offer him a contract to serve as Malawi’s Deputy Ambassador to Japan. Does it sound familiar?
It is still a rumour but withdrawal of Namasasu from the race, having shown interest in contesting as an independent candidate, raises more questions than answers. Senior government officials are not even helping matters by being elusive on the issue.
In a situation where one is not given right information or, indeed, some decide to deliberately give distorted information, people may believe whatever they want to.
We believe the DPP would like to appease Namasasu for withdrawing from the race. And this should not be tolerated at all. After all, public money is not supposed to be used for politics of appeasement.
It is not even very surprising because it is coming hot on the heels of other reports that the DPP was planning to offer Lawrence Sitolo, a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate in Nsanje Lalanje Constituency by-elections, a diplomatic post to also withdraw from the race. It has not worked that side. But Namasasu has fallen prey to such tactics.
We, therefore, agree with social commentator and human rights defender Billy Mayaya that the country needs career diplomats.
Sending people to diplomatic missions as a way of appeasing them for not competing with some candidates must cease forthwith. We are tired of such tactics and petty politics!
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