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This pettiness will take you under

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Puludzu

For months, if not years, on end, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been going round in circles, largely due to infighting among the politburo over who should take over the leadership mantle from current party leader and former State president Peter Mutharika.

One would be excused for thinking that the leadership squabbles in DPP were all but over, especially after Mutharika had recently invited to his Nyambadwe residence those that were, or have been, ‘posturing’ for his position, in what many saw as peace-building and reconciliation steps, which saw the likes of Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa, former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Dalitso Kabambe, Bright Msaka, Joseph Mwanamvekha and clergy man David Mbewe coming together to interact and give a show of unity to the public.

This was not long after former president Bakili Muluzi had chided Mutharika at the Mulakho wa Alhomwe cultural event for failing to put his house in order, in as far as the DPP leadership squabbles go. Ordinarily, I would have said it is a waste of time talking about such an issue, which has been long standing, but developments that took place in the course of the week demanded that I start off by laying a background so that you can appreciate better what is happening in the former ruling party.

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Enter into the picture the announcement by Speaker of Parliament on a shadow Parliament Cabinet picked by Nankhumwa, in his capacity as Leader of Opposition, and from that, a fresh can of worms would be opened as DPP, through a statement signed by administrative secretary Francis Mphepo, would ‘disown’ the shadow Parliament Cabinet by saying the party was not consulted and that it had already chosen its spokespersons in Parliament for specific issues.

This would turn into a battle of words as Nankhumwa would also have none of it, stressing that the shadow Parliament Cabinet was not a new thing and that DPP officials who are not legislators have nothing to do with Parliamentary procedures.

By reading the undertones of this bitter exchange through the press, one would easily deduce that we had been sold a fast one by Mutharika and cronies, in as far as the issue of burying the hatchet among the top officials is concerned. You cannot continue to have a party that speaks in discord and expect it to come out successful in the next general elections unless one is a fool. Whether it is Nankhumwa who is bringing this chaos or those within the party but outside Parliament, they need to realise that time is of the essence and the more it ticks, the closer we get to 2025 general elections.

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DPP must find a solution to these squabbles and must do so very fast; otherwise, just like other parties before it that many once considered giants but buckled under leadership struggles, it is bound to get into a bottomless pit. One wonders why the party, which boasts of people in its top positions who once served as Cabinet ministers, can fail to resolve leadership wrangles among them. Otherwise, the party will continue to be rocked with such controversies unless a permanent solution is found. Speaking of which, when will the highly-talked about convention take place? It is either Mutharika rises to the occasion and bring sanity to the table (which so far appears to be a tall order) and sees out the rest of his term or he might as well expedite the convention process so that the party’s next leader can be identified and help restore order and semblance of unity in the party.

On the other hand, Nankhumwa equally has to, whenever a chance arises, demonstrate maturity by deliberately reaching out to his party colleagues and, no, I am not only talking about those who are in Parliament; but even the party leadership outside just to ensure that any tension and animosity that might be lingering in the air is defused. Never mind that, for example, the issue in question was revolving around Parliament I am sure if he had bothered to ask, the gesture would have been reciprocated or if he were to be snubbed, then he would have gone ahead to do things his own way.

My advice to DPP is simple; work out your issues once and for all or else this pettiness will take you down under.

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