The People’s Party should do some soul-searching as it faces a crisis of confidence, and a potential fallout, from the political and institutional crises that have overtaken Joyce Banda’s party since she went into self-imposed exile.
If that has not already happened, then its members should arouse themselves and face the fact, neatly summed up by various commentators in the past months, that it needs to redeem itself.
Mangochi Monkey Bay legislator, Ralph Jooma, last year at the height of the confusion within the party, stood up to be counted and resigned as Chief Whip. He admitted the party has lost direction.
Yesterday, he told The Daily Times that “This is a party which is not serious and killing itself”.
But we beg to differ with Jooma because we believe that the party still has a chance to stand up and be counted because it has the potential.
Remember that PP rose to become a major force in the country’s politics in the two years it was in power.
It made considerable contributions to Malawi’s socio-economic development at a time the country was facing massive fuel shortages because of a cash crunch, brought about by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s fight with Western donors.
However, the party paid a heavy price for the way it governed, as corruption became endemic and the looting of public cash became commonplace. This later came to be known as Cashgate. That contributed to Banda’s election defeat, although most of its members, including her, don’t want to hear that.
DPP stole the election; that’s PP’s story.
Despite the strenuous denials about how they lost the election, the party should redeem itself and the decision to investigate its own legislators is a good starting point.
There is one good reason for doing this. This is that the party remains committed to fighting corruption within its ranks while under such a dark cloud of suspicion.
It’s encouraging to note that PP is the only opposition party so far that has bothered to probe its lawmakers suspected to have aided DPP in Parliament last year. It is also interested in finding out who, within its ranks, was about to benefit from the initial K4 billion.
Malawi Congress Party has been quiet. We have heard that some of its members benefited for not voting on the electoral bills. On that day, they were either absent or absconded.
So we applaud PP for this and hope that other opposition parties will take to task their membership seen to be double-dealing.
But the other way forward for PP would be for its politburo to call for an urgent conference and vote in new leadership. An unlikely scenario, but it is PP’s chance to redeem itself and send a clear signal that it is a party that holds its leadership accountable
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