Written by Patseni Mauka
They say in politics, there are no permanent enemies. With Malawi elections getting closer, parties that may seem to be sworn enemies have started approaching each other to strategize on how they can work together to maximize their chances of winning the 2019 general elections.
The nature of such approaches are usually very secret for several reasons. One of the reasons is that parties don’t want the parties they want to defeat to know about their strategy lest the other parties come up with counter strategies. The other reason is that parties don’t want people to know that they tried to court some party but failed.
However, there is no secret under the sun. There is always that fly on the wall of the rooms people use to discuss political matters. There is always someone who leaks the talks to the press or on social media. The latest revelations are that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the People’s Party (PP) are destined for an alliance. DPP and UDF are already in talks and they plan to approach PP. The plan is to have Kondwani Nankhumwa as running mate to President Peter Mutharika and later have Atupele Muluzi appointed as Second Vice President.
Nankhumwa is DPP’s Vice President for the South and Minister of Local Government. His alleged real name is George Malemia. His former school mates say he started using the name Kondwani Nankhumwa after ‘inheriting’ his deceased brother’s academic certificates. In short, he has no meaningful academic credentials which are crucial elements in critical analysis that is always necessary for higher offices.
Nankhumwa is an accomplished liar who, in 2015, while serving as Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, asked President Peter Mutharika to commission special investigation over the death of his elder brother, the former president Bingu wa Mutharika claiming he didn’t die a natural death but was rather killed by his then Vice President, Joyce Banda. Nankhumwa made the allegations during the commemoration of Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata farm in Thyolo. Until now he has never provided any evidence of his allegations.
To know the ultimate objective of the potential alliance, we have to look closely at the people in front of the talks. The DPP, UDF and PP talks are being spearheaded by the Godfather of political deals, Bakili Eleson Muluzi, retired Malawi President (1994-2004) and one of the founders of UDF. Bakili Muluzi is the father of the current leader of UDF and Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi. Yes, like a son inheriting his father’s car, he inherited UDF.
In the 2014 general elections, Atupele Muluzi campaigned on the popular message of ‘agenda for change’ but joined the ‘no change team’ of DPP in a governing coalition after losing the elections. Since 2014, not a lot has been heard about him in terms of his ambition to be President of Malawi. He has been quietly loyal to corrupt Mutharika and learning the trade of governing in different government portfolios.
His father, Bakili Muluzi, aged 74, has the ambition to one day see his son as President of Malawi. Knowing the senior Muluzi, he will do anything to see this goal achieved. At the time he was a president people who posed a threat to his presidency got swiftly eliminated. A music maestro who was destined to conquer Africa if not the world, Evison Matafale, died under suspicious circumstances. He was the founder and leader of the reggae band Black Missionaries.
Matafale was arrested and tortured by the police. Prior to his arrest he had written a series of letters to President Bakili Muluzi denouncing his government’s policies. In the letters he wrote, he denounced the president’s preferential treatment of Muslims and Asian traders and accused him of exploiting ordinary Malawians.
During Muluzi’s Presidency, Kalonga Stambuli, his senior economic adviser and business partner died through strangulation and poisoning. A few weeks before Stambuli’s death, a document purportedly written by him surfaced on the internet and local newspapers, alleging abuse of power by senior Malawi government officials including Muluzi.
Muluzi is currently answering fraud charges of K1.7 billion ($12 million) which was in his personal account during his presidency. The government alleges the money was public funds diverted to the former president’s personal account. Muluzi’s goal is to have his corruption case dropped by government. He is therefore stuck with the ruling DPP.
The other name being mentioned in the talks is Brown Mpinganjira, another founder of UDF, who quit it to form his own party, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He then miserably lost in the presidential elections in 2004. Mpinganjira later dissolved the NDA and rejoined UDF.
In the May 2009 presidential election, in which UDF formed an electoral alliance with Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Mpinganjira ran alongside MCP presidential candidate John Tembo as running mate. Agonizingly, he again, found himself on the losing side. Such was the agony that he found solace in evangelism and renamed himself, Evangelist Brown Mpinganjira.
When evangelism alone could not feed him, he rejoined politics in the PP’s embarrassingly short-lived government (2012-2014). In the 2014 elections, Evangelist Mpinganjira found himself on the losing side yet again. After finding it tough in opposition, he dumped PP and joined ruling DPP. With DPP losing popularity as evidenced by the statistics from 2009 to present, Mpinganjira’s interest is not to be found on the losing side again.
Mpinganjira, Mutharika and Muluzi have also one common interest; to make sure that no person from the central and northern regions ever rule Malawi. This is one of the most unfortunate reasons why DPP and UDF want to form an alliance. Any Malawian is capable of becoming President as long as he is qualified, has ability to improve the economy and has the interest of Malawians at heart. Regionalism should always be condemned.
The DPP, UDF and PP alliance talks are not in the interest of developing Malawi. They are just being held to serve interests of a few greedy people. The alliance would only succeed in maintaining DPP in power. After that the UDF will go extinct. With a Second Vice President position, Atupele Muluzi will be at the mercy of Mutharika and probably get fired at the earliest opportune time. That’s Mutharika’s secret wish.
Should Atupele be running mate, it would be a fantastic opportunity for UDF to come back to power in the unlikely event that God decide to recall the old and frail Mutharika while in office. This is the senior Muluzi’s greatest wish, to see his son become President and UDF back in power.
Atambwali sametana, DPP and UDF are greatest political foes pretending to work together but each one secretly wishing to eliminate the other. As for PP, I don’t see what the party would benefit in such an alliance apart from just being king makers.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post
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