Endorsement of political candidates has always been a norm world over. There is nothing strange with individual or political groupings airing out institutionalised preferences for a candidate they would love to see attaining power.
It therefore raises many questions than answers to see that Malawians have over the past days been too occupied to unravel the meaning of Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s endorsement of President Lazarus Chakwera for the 2025 poll.
First things first, an endorsement is simply a personal or group declaration in favour of a particular candidate for political office. It doesn’t matter when and where that endorsement is made, for as long as it is done within the political culture then it is fine.
I see the move by MCP as normal and without malice. They are only doing what a normal political institution should do.
Elsewhere across the globe, political posturing starts even longer prior to the election. In Russia, a party led by Vladmir Putin has always known about his candidacy well in advance. So too with Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, who is already set to run for office up until 2031. In both instances, their parties have already endorsed them.
Question is, why do political parties endorse candidates? It is a ploy of bringing stability to the party structures in view of other sentiments flying around.
I am certain that MCP has taken this route to put to rest concerns and worries of their membership in regards to Chakwera’s second term bid.
At this stage, no one is sure of the agreements that were made between Tonse Alliance partners. But when the endorsements come from a whole vice president and deputy secretary general of the party, it already shows you the thought pattern of MCP.
It could be that they want to sell the Chakwera brand to the alliance again so that he leads the nine-party bloc at the 2025 poll or they want to disassociate with the current alliance while seeking new partners who will only come to support their endorsed candidate. Both instances are normal in politics.
Simply put, the endorsement is not meant to destroy the Tonse Alliance but give it enough time to prepare for the next election, whether as a maintained coalition or a broken one.
For those who feel that the endorsement will break agreements made in 2020, they may have a point but only to an extent.
Look, whatever Chakwera and Chilima agreed is not legally binding when viewed through the lens of the country’s Constitution and all the nine party constitutions in the alliance. Had they wanted the agreement to hold water, they were supposed to reflect it in all the party constitutions.
That way, it was going to be easy to manage how people make sentiments on the political podium.
Yes, politics must be guided by moral aspects, but it should largely be driven by legal statutes. Morals fade due to circumstances but the law remains a fortress where those who seek remedies can run to. If MCP or any other party in the alliance decides to quit, they will not be taken to account on legal basis, and that already renders the 2020 agreement feeble.
Where we are going, these endorsements will not come from MCP alone. I foresee other parties within the alliance trying to throw their weight probably between Chakwera and Chilima, and that will be the beginning of the end of the alliance.
As they say, politics is a learning curve; so, we must draw lessons every time we start bearing the consequences of the decisions we make.
Agreements that lack legal backing are dangerous in the political game.
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