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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Let the people decide

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Human beings are supposed to be rational and be able to draw from vast lessons that the past offers them. Politicians, being human beings, are not spared from lessons that history generously offers.
When the country embraced multiparty democracy about two and a half decades ago, we were hoping that people in political parties would learn to let others speak and, in the spirit of democracy, allow the freedom of association regardless of where one comes from or when they joined the party.
In fact, we expected that, in the spirit of democracy, which is supposed to start in political parties by adopting intra-party democracy mechanisms, all people— including old faces in politics— would accept that there are no permanent positions in politics.
By positions, we mean responsibilities people are given in party structures as well as points of view.
But some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members have reminded us, again, that, true to the adage that it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, they are not ready to sail with the wave of democracy, let alone intra-party democracy.
Such people— which, we are sad to say, are out of sync with intra-party democracy principles— are busy stopping others from joining MCP. Their old-fashioned thinking is that MCP belongs to them and them alone by virtue of the long association with the party.
This is archaic thinking.
The wrangles that have rocked MCP are there simply because a section of the party is resisting change and feels threatened by other members who are joining the party.
But in a democratic dispensation, parties should be ready to embrace new members and at the same time make sure that the power of choice is left with members who have the right to elect who will govern them regardless of when and how one joined the party.
So, MCP members who are trying to block others as well as showing resentment for new members must remember that the party belongs to the people and it is up to the people to elect who they wish at its convention. After all this is democracy.

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