Love for rogues
When Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah announced official results of the by-elections that were held the previous day, I took particular interest in the reaction of one Nicholas Dausi and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stalwarts.
Despite being floored clean by five seats to one, Dausi refused to chicken out and made himself available at Mount Soche where the results of the fall of the DPP was being officiated. Dausi is known for his superfluous—albeit senseless—speeches and he was in no way short of that on Wednesday last week.
As expected, good Nicholas wore a brave face and laboured to tell us that the results of the by-elections were in no way pointers to the fall of the once mighty DPP, rather a springboard to a huge leap that the DPP will take in 2019. For the uninitiated, Dausi’s face-saving sentiments make a lot of sense but to people like me, the feeling is that Dausi is living in denial and just does not want to accept that his DPP is whirling on popularity quicksand.
Since 2014, the DPP has lost ground compared to its main rival, the Malawi Congress (MCP). Of course the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the People’s Party (PP) have become almost obsolete and cannot be taken very seriously, hence the main emphasis of our political setting remains the DPP and the MCP.
The contest of the MCP and the DPP was put to a serious test on Tuesday last week during the by-elections. For many, the by-elections were a dry run of the 2019 elections when Peter Mutharika and his DPP will be seeking fresh mandate from us. Since 2014, it has been felt and thought that Mutharika is fast losing popularity and his chances of making it beyond 2019 are slim. Many have put Mutharika’s loss of popularity to
corruption, nepotism and general sluggishness in making crucial decisions. Some of us have it in mind that the fall of Mutharika is not necessarily about the faults mentioned above but his strange love for bad apples.
The Africa Confidential and the Afrobarometer might both have rightly put it that Mutharika no longer wows the masses, but comparatively, Africa Confidential was right to say that Mutharika’s undoing is no other than his ineptitude of choosing his lieutenants, Flip through the files and you will easily read that Mutharika’s reputation has been put into question because of the deeds of his henchmen. For instance, the past three to four or five months, Grace Chiumia and Gresselder Jeffrey have taken turns— knowingly or unknowingly— to utter nonsense on behalf of the DPP. Perhaps Jeffrey’s Zachamba sentiments resonate loudly, particularly that, like me, she comes from a district where chamba (Indian Hemp) is grown on a larger scale. Careless utterances like those are what have created a huge cleft between the DPP and the people that voted it to power in 2014.
In 2014, the DPP was not the best there was in town. Actually, it was by shock that a party that was the very antithesis of democratic tendencies somehow found itself in power. Until now, nobody fathoms how the DPP came back to life when we had all written angry epitaphs on its political tombstone.
Some believe that the reason for DPP’s resurrection in 2014 was the fronting of the fresh face of Saulos Chilima to make amends for the haggard and scary looks of Mutharika. Well, Chilima might have won the DPP some votes back then in 2014 but as it looks now, the DPP has pushed him to the peripheral which is some pretty good news for the opposition.
As it stands now, the opposition might as well brace for more victories particularly with DPP’s brightest bulb—Chilima— dimmed by nepotism and the like.
In case Mutharika and his DPP want to save their battered image and catch up with the MCP, they better go back to 2014 and have some soul searching particularly on what propped them to victory when almost everybody wrote them off.
My simple but dense advice to Mutharika is that the likes of Chiumia and Jeffrey are digging the DPP’s grave and the party will be buried soon. Peter should sit down and reexamine his curious love for rogues.
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