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Purse that matters

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I was a cab reporter during the formative year of the People’s Party (PP). Those days, the PP was just another grouping that rode on people’s sympathy and nothing else. I still remember that the time the PP was fighting to be registered, it was some miserably looking women and men who were camping at the Registrar General’s office.

That time, Bingu wa Mutharika had lost people’s trust and any alternative was accepted. It so happened that in the frantic months of April, Bingu wa Mutharika decided to walk his last mile and, then, all we had, by the dictates of the constitution, was Joyce Banda to inherit the mantle. Since Joyce Banda had her PP, thanks to the gaps in our Constitution, her party ended up on the ruling side. Even history will tell you that once-upon-a-time, PP was the ruling party on the land.

PP has always been fantastic if you care to hear. This is a party that only started as a pressure group and, thanks to the departure of Bingu, the party became the biggest thing on the land. Old, wasted, clueless politicians capitalised on Joyce Banda’s naivety and thought it was their grand opportunity to resurrect their political careers.

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I still remember the other day having opined that JB was making a huge mistake to take on bold politicians who were beyond their shelf life. I also remember how one civil rights activist called me names just because I had called him a sell-out when he was all over professing his allegiance to JB in 2012.

I happened to meet this “activist” after some years and he frankly told me that all he wanted then was some favour for his loyalty.

A week or two ago, my senior colleague, Idriss Ali Nassah, casually wrote something on social media that should, by all means, raise the antenna of any right-thinking Malawian. It was about one Brown Mpinganjira who had just lost an election at PP’s convention. Quoting Idriss, Mpinganjira, after the snub, had all the faith that JB would compensate her with a plush position somewhere.

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It so happened that Mpinganjira ended up becoming a minister and had a very senior position in the PP. But what interests me a lot is the fact that people align themselves to political parties hoping to be compensated in one way or another other than contribute to some grand national development.

Last week, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) welcomed the likes of Ken Lipenga, Henry Phoya, Brown Mpinganjira and Daniel Gunya. Some months ago, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) took on board Sidik Mia who the party thinks is a huge catch and will have a massive political influence come 2019.

But when you look at these people, they are all old, tired and wasted politicians who are just trying to make good of what remains on their names. I even laugh at the political parties who are busy making a ceremony that these people have been taking on board. To someone like me, all these are personification of the country’s political harlotry and greed and must never be celebrated or thought to be luminaries.

Look here, the reason the PP is now a house put asunder is that it is out of power. Ken Lipenga or Brown Mpinganjira would never have left the PP if it were still in power. How many remember what happened in April 2012 when Bingu departed? Those who seemed loyal suddenly changed and had everything bad to say about the DPP.

Between 2012 and 2014, everyone wanted to be in good books with the PP. But tables have turned. What we thought were PP’s stalwarts have actually become the very instruments that are dividing the party. But all we have is that what is happening to the PP is not strange and it can happen to any political party on the land.

The truth is that all our politicians are treasure hunters and they are not people to be trusted. The reason the PP is falling like a house built on the proverbial sand is because they do not have that financial muscle they had way back. In politics these days, ideologies and ethics no longer matter; it is only the purse that matters.

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