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Peter Mutharika should let DPP conduct primaries

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I am now frustrated. I am very frustrated for that matter. I am failing to express my anger over President Peter Mutharika’s (APM) conduct in ‘appointing’ those to stand for his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

This is the President who has stayed in the most democratic country, the largest democracy in the world; for not just one year, two years or four years but a good 40 years.

Probably, I expect too much from my President; probably, I am just misguided but what APM is doing now is very frustrating; actually, as I am writing this piece now, words fail me to say it the right way.

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I follow the President. I am always interested in his diaries and most of the times I do take my time off from my humble busy schedule to lend an ear to what he is saying.

But first, let me commend politicians from the Northern and Central regions for their rare gesture to stand by the suffering people of the South.

First, is versatile Karonga Central Member of Parliament (MP), Frank Mwenifumbo.

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He has sympathised with the landless people of Mulanje and Thyolo and took a swipe at the government for arresting and harassing ordinary poor peasant farmers who are standing up for their land rights.

Honourable Mwenifumbo thinks this is against what John Chilembwe, the revered US-trained Lhomwe cleric, stood for.

For those who might have forgotten what happened during the Chilembwe uprising in 1915, here is a brief background.

When Chilembwe returned to Malawi, then Nyasaland, from his tour of study in the US, he was alarmed to see that the whites were oppressing black people by forcing them to work in their estates without pay.

The whites also took the black people’s land without compensation.

This annoyed Reverend Chilembwe who decided to organise the uprising.

He sent some of his men to Mandala, Blantyre to steal a few guns and then they headed to Mr Bruce’s tea estate, a wealth estate owner in Chiradzulu. The Chilembwe men killed the old white man and kept his widow and children in detention.

In retaliation, the white colonial authorities hunted Chilembwe down and probably killed him.

I am not saying that powerful and rich estate owners in Thyolo and Mulanje grabbed people’s land as Vincent Wandale, the self-imposed leader of People’s Land Organisation, would want us to believe.

However, I totally agree with Honourable Mwenifumbo that there is need to set up a special fund for the people of Mulanje and Thyolo so that the estate owners can be giving something to improve the welfare of the people.

As we all know, all taxes go straight into Account Number One. This means all the government money realised from the tea in the two districts is helping some people somewhere outside the two districts.

The government should consider doing something; at least, similar to what happens when there is a mine.

People of Mulanje and Thyolo should and must indeed benefit from the tea which is grown, in most cases, just within their house verandahs.

Then there are Juliana Lunguzi, that young-looking and soft-spoken but intelligent Dedza East MP and Harry Mkandawire, the veteran but outspoken Mzimba South MP.

The two legislators amazed me last week the way they pinned down Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe on why the government is failing to construct Phalombe District Hospital.

The hospital project was supposed to start 16 years ago but the people of Phalombe have always been taken for a ride by this government and the previous governments as if they do not pay taxes.

Without any fear, I am telling the DPP-led government to either give the people of Phalombe a hospital or just shut up.

I am angry because in 2008, the government obtained a loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development for the project.

Since then, year in, year out, each budget contained some dollars for the project.

In 2013, the Saudi Fund for Development approved $15 million to supplement the money for the construction of the long-awaited hospital.

On October 14, 2015, APM, I mean our President, assured the people of Phalombe that construction would start in two to three months’ time. Two years down the line, nothing is happening on the ground.

This is the district that had powerful people, powerful cabinet ministers like Ken Lipenga and Anna Kachikho, powerful business mogul Leston Mulli and others too numerous to mention here.

I do not know what part they took to force this government and previous governments to construct a hospital for the poor people of Phalombe.

What sin did they commit so that I can repent on their behalf?

You may now see why today I am angry and very upset because something does not add up somewhere for my beloved Malawi, my only country in this world!

This is why I am very angry that President Mutharika, the President of the ruling DPP, has already started showing off DPP candidates who will vie for parliamentary seats in various areas.

Those of you who went to Dedza East Constituency on Tuesday can agree with me that Mutharika introduced Yasinta Chikaonda as a DPP candidate during the 2019 parliamentary elections.

In Salima, he introduced to the people Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Samuel Tembenu as the DPP parliamentary candidate and the list goes on and on.

My question is: when did the DPP start appointing people to vie for parliamentary elections without going through party primary elections?

President Mutharika is the leader of DPP. He knows very well that endorsing a candidate before party primaries are conducted is immoral as it is favouritism.

Party members look up to President Mutharika as their father and the President should look up to the DPP members as his children; therefore, giving preference to some children while leaving out the others is unwelcome.

Let Mutharika stay mute at this time. Let DPP parliamentary aspirants battle themselves out during the party primaries and let the winner come out and hug the President!

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