Political analysts have cautioned Malawi Congress Party (MCP), asking it to concentrate on building Malawi today rather than channeling too much effort into the issue of who will lead the party in 2025.
The caution follows MCP deputy secretary general Catherine Gotani Hara’s pronouncement, at a fundraising dinner in Lilongwe on Saturday, that the party had endorsed Lazarus Chakwera as its presidential candidate for the 2025 presidential election.
“The Bible says that whatever is bound here on earth, the same is bound in heaven. So, we are today making it binding that, in 2025, our presidential candidate will be Chakwera.
“We are making our wish binding today and nobody will unbind it and, when going that route, we will meet a lot of things but we must remember that God is in control and nobody will take this away from us,” Gotani Hara said.
The party’s endorsement of Chakwera comes a few months after MCP vice president Harry Mkandawire made a similar pronouncement.
However, political analyst George Phiri said what the MCP should have done was to show Malawians that it was capable of delivering now rather than thinking about 2025.
Phiri said, with the many challenges Malawi is facing, the wisest thing the MCP could do was to provide all the necessary support to Chakwera to surmount challenges besetting the country so that, come 2025, the electorate could find no alternative to Chakwera.
“Even if Dr Chakwera contests as MCP presidential candidate in 2025, if many people have lost trust in Chakwera’s leadership, what will it mean? It will mean that even if MCP goes it alone, the people will not support that candidature,” Phiri said.
University of Malawi political analyst Ernest Thindwa doubted whether the pronouncement by the party was appropriate.
Thindwa said the challenge when such statements are coming from the higher hierarchy of the party is that democratic principles are ignored.
“A stage has been set where party members with the ambition to contest for the position of the party leadership will be threatened and intimidated, thereby eliminating genuine competition and consequently undermining intra-party democracy.
“It is important for the party to be seen to be democratic by avoiding creating an atmosphere that favours the incumbent,” Thindwa said.
On whether the announcement would destabilise the MCP relationship with other Tonse Alliance partners, Thindwa said that would be mere speculation.
“It would be mere speculation to suggest that such public statements from MCP will destabilise the alliance, essentially because the contents of the pact for the alliance partners has not been made public,” he said.
During the dinner, Chakwera could not be drawn to comment on the endorsement.
He urged party members to commit their resources to the party so that it could remain strong.