Thumbs up Aford, thumbs down DPP
I am always interested in democracy because I am a democrat. This is why I applaud Alliance for Democracy (Aford) for allowing Frank Mwenifumbo MP to contest against the party’s president Enock Chihana.
Just a week ago, Chihana called for a meeting of all Aford district chairpersons. The meeting took place at his residence in Sector Five, Area 47 in Lilongwe.
The district chairpersons, according to the petition presented to him, had to go to the capital city following a summon by Chihana to have their sentiments and grievances put to him by some of the district party laeders.
Among other issues, I am told the district chairpersons told Chihana to postpone a convention which was slated for December and that he should dissolve a political grouping called Revamp Aford Movement (Ramo).
It was pleasing to note that Chihana immediately postponed the party convention and immediately dissolved Ramo.
It is pleasing that Aford has chosen April or thereabouts for the party activities including the convention because it is post-farming season and the weather would be conducive for the travel of delegates as there would be no rains.
It is also pleasing that the Aford president has conceded that the party has no financial resources to conduct the convention and other related political activities.
This, I would say without any shred of contradiction, is democracy at its best.
I am humbled by the fact that Mwenifumbo has come flat out to challenge Chihana for the position of president.
For those who might not know the background of Aford. The party was founded by Chihana; a renowned trade unionist who came from Zambia in 1992 to challenge Kamuzu Banda presidency.
He failed the elections and went to bed. I mean his party, Aford went into an alliance with Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the party he named the grouping of darkness and blood and later made an alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF).
UDF, typical of its wasteful the then leader Bakili Muluzi, made Chihana the second vice-president of the Republic of Malawi and enjoyed all State resources as he was also minister of Water and Irrigation.
That time, Aford was a very powerful and influential party in the North before UDF and Bakili neutralised it to have just one Member of Parliament in the North, Enock.
I hope Enock has learnt a lesson or two in this episode and that he will accept the results of the election of Mwenifumbo as his rival in the presidential race for the party.
I hope as well that Mwenifumbo has followed all laid-down procedures of the party to hold the elections yesterday, Thursday, at a hotel in Lilongwe so as not to divide the already divided and fractured party.
I am not, therefore, surprised that Aford has decided to end its marriage with Ramo.
According to Chihana, Ramo has been fighting against Aford instead of advancing its agenda.
Chihana also alleges that Ramo leadership has, on numerous occasions, issued statements contradicting the party leadership.
In addition, Chihana says Ramo has been soliciting funds purportedly for the party activities but there has never been a report as to whereabouts of the funds so collected.
Chihana, therefore, alleges that there is no accountability and transparency on how the money was solicited.
If this is indeed true, Aford leadership should take legal action against those suspected to be in the scam; otherwise, we would think that Aford has cooked up the stories to silence those who want to challenge Chihana in the party polls.
If the party convention was postponed for a good reason, we do not have any queries about that but if it was postponed for fear of challenge from Mwenifumbo, we have problems.
As a democrat, I respect intra-party democracy and politics because that is what breeds real democracy in a country.
Just go to Uganda or Rwanda and learn their type of democracy, you would say ours, here in Malawi, is much better.
Lessons should be learnt from Zimbabwe how the clinging to power of former president Robert Mugabe has led to his disgraceful downfall from power.
His wife, Grace, became so powerful that Zimbabweans feared she would be more brutal than the husband, Bob.
Well, that is now history but our local political party leadership has a lesson or two to learn from the Zimbabwe episode; that one can be ousted from a party he founded and fought for.
Chihana, therefore, needs to have his head above the water and accept that, in democracy, he would face challenges at the polls.
This brings me to an issue which has been on airwaves and newspapers that the ruling DPP wants to be in an alliance with People’s Party (PP).
This would be a waste of time and resources.
I know that MCP has an alliance with PP in Parliament.
This is not what Malawians wanted MCP to be as the main opposition party when they cast their votes in May, 2014.
DPP officials, who are now in government, have time and again reminded us that former president Joyce Banda and her cronies looted over K30 billion of public money from Capital Hill, the seat of government in Lilongwe.
President Peter Mutharika has time and again reminded us that the economy of the country is on its knees because of the loot.
I am mindful and acknowledge that Banda is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law.
Let her come from her self-imposed exile and defend herself on the allegations before DPP-led government decide to pardon her and incorporate her in the next government.
I do not think that pardoning her of allegations of looting the public coffers would make DPP win the elections.
This is just an illusion! Let intra-party democracy take centre stage instead.
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