It appears the two main rival parties to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in this election, the Malawi Congress party (MCP) and UTM, have ignored the DPP and have instead turned against each other.
There has been an increased rivalry and bitter feuding between the two parties with the main battlegrounds being the central region. To underline this feuding, we are currently witnessing some of the bitterest exchanges between supporters of the two parties on the social media, particularly on Facebook and Whatsapp forums.
The most immediate reason for this rivalry is that MCP lives under the premonition that the central regions is its enclave and would want to protect that territory under any circumstances. The old party still lives under the belief that it will sweep all the votes in the region, and already it is bragging of having a ‘fixed deposit’ of 1 million supporters from the central region in this election.
However, the continued presence and activities of UTM in the region appears to be challenging that notion. UTM appears to be targeting the very central region with rallies by the party’s President, Saulos Chilima, particularly in Lilongwe rural; Dedza, Kasungu, Dowa and other parts of the central region. UTM even chose Dowa as the venue for launching its campaign and manifesto.
In turn, MCP has been following the UTM trail and has enlisted its Director of Youth, Richard Chimwendo Banda to keep holding parallel rallies close to where UTM conducts its public meetings in the central region. The reason for MCP’s actions is obviously to attempt to neutralize the efforts that UTM is making so that its (UTM) momentum in the central region is stalled.
In their feuding frenzy, MCP and UTM appear to have forgotten that there is still an ‘elephant in the room’ in this election and that if they are not careful their bitter rivalry will only play into the hands of the DPP. They have forgotten that their consistent dog-fights will make them lose focus of the real ball, which is the ruling party.
The DPP may take advantage of the spaces that the two parties are leaving behind to create electoral advantages to win the forthcoming elections.
Of late we have noticed Chakwera and Chilima are slurring President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika in their rallies instead of dishing out developmental speeches that they will do once elected into office. Most political analysts have said this is a sign of self-defeat. They didn’t expect Peter Mutharika to mount such vigorous campaign to defend his leadership.
President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika has called this election a watershed meaning voters are to choose between development and politics.
For example, the UTM and MCP rivalry seems to be particularly intense in the central region. This has helped open up spaces in the eastern region and the southern regions of the country where DPP can take advantage to consolidate its support. The DPP also has a loyal base of support in the central region particularly the urban areas of Lilongwe and other districts of Dowa, Nkhotakota, Mchinji, Salima and Kasungu where Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika has commanded a huge crowds in his whistle stop tours and this is a bitter lesson to MCP and UTM .But these two parties can’t command the same crowds in DPP bedroom, the southern region even with Mia factor in Lower Shire where so far DPP is ahead of both parties combined in terms of political party precedence.
The UTM/MCP rivalry has helped the DPP to profile its loyal base of support in the central region, which the party will use for strategic planning purposes to anticipate the number of votes that it will get in the region and how to tailor its campaign in order to consolidate its territory in the central region.
The UTM/MCP intense rivalry in the central region presents a two tier opportunity to the DPP.
First, the two parties have forgotten the other regions, particularly the eastern and southern regions making them fertile battle grounds that should be invaded as DPP seems to have overtaken UDF in its stronghold now due to developments that Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika has initiated in this region.
Secondly, currently the United Democratic Front (UDF) does not have the grip of the eastern region like it used to have previously; the party of Atcheya will likely lose some constituencies in Mangochi, Balaka and Machinga, which again contributes to making the region an intense battleground in this election to mainly the DPP as PP is “married” to MCP the party that late Chakufwa Chihana dubbed it a ‘party of death and darkness’ for killing innocent citizens who disagreed with Kamuzu’s leadership.
Its unlikey that PP faithfuls will follow JB command that all must vote for Chakwera as most people who are in PP suffered alot during MCP rule like fomer Chief Justice Richard Banda who is also the husband to former President Her Excellency Joyce Banda.
Most voters believe PP is a sell out.
But let the best party with clear cut vision win the elections.