Now, what could work against MCP President Lazarus Chakwera next year:
1. DIVIDED MCP: It is Chakwera’s fault that the very public fallout with his deputy, Richard Msowoya, former Secretary General, Gustav Kaliwo, former spokesperson, Jessie Kabwila and others was allowed to simmer for a long period without clear resolution. Going into next year, MCP is fractured, when it should project a strong, united force.
2. POOR LEADER: The opposition has significant numbers in parliament but came to naught. Chakwera functioned as a leader of a faction of MCP, not leader of the whole opposition. He failed to rally the opposition or even to win over some government MPs to oppose a number of contentious bills.
3. HERE TODAY, THERE TOMORROW: Question is, what does Chakwera stand for on principle? One day he supports the motion to allocate K4bn to be shared among MPs, the next day he joins demonstrations against the disbursement of the K4bn. In the morning he is for the Salima-Lilongwe Water Project, by lunch he is not sure. In being opportunistic, he comes across as indesicive and weak.
4. THE CENTRE WILL NOT HOLD: To win, MCP needs strong outreach beyond the central region strongholds. Yet Chakwera has been unwilling, or unable, to lead a sustained onslaught outside of the comfort zone. But votes of the central region, likely to be eaten into by UTM and others, won’t be enough to propel him into power.
5. CSOs FIRST: Chakwera has failed to capitalize on several blunders by the DPP and Peter Mutharika. When things happen, he waits to be led. Instead of seizing the moment, he seems to take his cue from CSO leaders, then he follows.
6. SAME OLD: Chakwera should have been the smart new way of doing politics but he is comfortable doing the same old, same old. Beyond holding the occasional rally, does anyone know what is Chakwera’s clear strategy to position himself and win the election?
7. CHILIMA’s THUNDER: With vice president Saulosi Chilima now contesting, Chakwera isn’t the fresh new face of politics anymore. That title is gone and, with it, potential votes.
8. JOYCE BANDA FACTOR: JB’s return will also potentially undercut some of Chakwera’s votes, particularly in the northern region. If the two don’t forge an alliance, Chakwera might be the biggest loser.