Sins of the Democratic Progressive Party


The embarrassing loss that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered in Tuesday’s by-election is a punishment for its sins. Actually, the DPP should thank the goddess of politics that it managed to snatch a seat in Mayani, Dedza, following a decision by the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to impose a candidate in the race.
In fact, there is no need for the DPP to hold a postmortem meeting over the elections because Malawians have, for the past three years, been generously advising the DPP on areas to change.
To cut to the chase: arrogance, violence, pettiness and indecisiveness are chief among the reasons for the DPP’s miserable showing. And as things stand, the party needs more than a miracle to pull a surprise come 2019.
In 2014, the DPP picked a maverick, Saulos Chilima as its presidential running mate. The rationale was that the youthful economist, marketer and administrator would prove magnetic to the youth, the Catholics and the undecided.
Chilima ran with the agenda “doing business unusual” and a promise to reform the otherwise dead public sector, to turn the country’s fortunes around. His acumen, coupled with President Peter Mutharika’s towering reputation in international jurisprudence wowed Malawians who could smell the lilies of the promise land.
But before the excitement died down among Malawians, the ruffians in the DPP were out and about, describing Chilima as a consultant who had done what he was hired for; to usher the DPP into power. The foxes created rumours to portray Chilima as power hungry and ungrateful. What they forgot was that Chilima did not join the DPP when it was a ruling party. He toiled with the rest of his colleagues to chalk the victory and was therefore, an equal partner in the success story. In a desperate bid to prove that the party can do without Chilima, his detractors made sure that he was sidelined in the recent by elections. But they too failed to tick. This clearly shows that the problem is not Chilima.
Unfortunately, it is not only Chilima who has been made a side show as DPP top positions are full of appointees, to irregularly replace duly elected leaders. That has made the DPP lose its focus and therefore, allure.
Malawians have also been infuriated by DPP’s failure to tame corruption which has turned endemic in this country. Instead of oiling the wheels of justice to grind on corruption suspects, the DPP has been rolling out a red carpet to the suspects. During its infamous Blue Night, a fund raiser held in Lilongwe, the party toasted to some suspects who are answering charges of siphoning millions from public coffers. Such equivocation by the ruling party on issues of corruption suggests that the party has vested interest in the vice.
Nepotism has been flagged on a number of occasions as one of the factors that is alienating Malawians from the DPP. If people know that their employment is as a result of their apparent loyalty to the party, they would not endevour to deliver. Little wonder we see chief executive officers of parastatals sitting on dusty pavements of Limbe, covering up a DPP regional team as it attempts to placate angry vendors with empty promises.
And because these nieces and nephews have no idea of what to do in the offices, they pick unnecessary fights with people who quietly go about contributing to national development. Just a few months ago, Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese of the Catholic Church expressed holy anger when some dull cadets imputed that the Archbishop had endorsed the DPP administration. Msusa made a prophetic statement that one day the power of the people would surpass the power of the gun.
The other sin of the DPP that keeps on irritating peaceful Malawians is the party’s resolve to continue sponsoring acts of violence by its cadets. The party allows and tolerates its cadets to physically harass Malawians for exercising their democratic rights. The DPP has even been sponsoring its cadets to disguise themselves and bully people on the social media. The DPP violence clearly manifested itself when one of its cadets brandished a gun, creating fear among Thyolo villagers. Not surprisingly, police sources have told the media that the gun has grown wings.
The last two factors are indecisiveness and pettiness. The DPP has failed to provide leadership on issues that are close to the heart of most Malawians. The DPP administration took forever to resolve the issue of closure of the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, Cashgate cases involving its senior officials and now the issue of blood suckers. On pettiness, the DPP is the only sector in the country which is stuck in the past while everyone else has moved on. This is why the party desperately pleaded with Malawians not to vote for MCP candidates based on the atrocious past of the one party state. But Malawians know better because they suffered.
The writing has been on the wall for some time but arrogance blinded the ruling party. It will not be easy for the DPP to undo what it has done wrongly because how does the party begin to correct the issue of nepotism, for instance? But it can still salvage a little something from the damage if it humbles itself.

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