With about 15 months to the next tripartite elections, the two biggest opposition parties on the land, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP), have ironically pressed a self-destruction button.
The past months, MCP has been in the news for all the bad reasons bordering on leadership wrangles. Nobody can say that MCP is one big happy family, especially when some of the party’s stalwarts are pulling north while others are pulling south.
Things are also not rosy in PP, especially now that the party’s unifying factor—its president, Joyce Banda—decided to bolt after losing the 2014 tripartite elections and has chosen to pull the strings far from home which has proven impossible. What is happening in PP is complete chaos and it is a house that is failing to withstand strong political winds.
The divisions in PP have all along been veiled until in the run-up to and during the tabling and voting of the Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills in Parliament when some of the party’s Members of Parliament chose to vote against the party’s will. It is this move that exposed the clefts in the party’s pillars when it started firing what it termed “errant” members. Now, the party has even resolved to write the Speaker of Parliament to declare vacant seats of parliamentarians that are deemed to associate with other political parties, especially Democratic progressive Party (DPP).
What we find costly from the wrangles in political parties is that, instead of them concentrating on providing alternative solutions as opposition, they will be preoccupied with settling internal matters. In the end, it is democracy that will suffer because the government will not have a strong block to provide checks and balances.
Fifteen months might seem a very long time from now, but in politics time moves too fast. If these wrangles continue in political parties, Malawians will go to the next polls without confidence and interest which is a defeating spirit in democracy.
Malawi needs a united, vibrant and organised opposition to keep the ruling party in check so that by the end of the day, whatever good comes out trickles to the citizenry.
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