What difference does today introduce with respect to yesterday?
In attempting to measure the current state affairs in opposition parties such as the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), this could be the question to ask first.
The presidency of a political party is always interesting in the first weeks of office when congratulatory messages are pouring in from all over.
By it does not wait for years before it becomes a burden. For after the honeymoon is over, one gets to be a night watchman leader.
A ‘night watchman’ in political science discourse, refers to leadership, where the only duty of a leader is to make sure that the status quo of say a political party affairs is maintained. As such, the best that the leader does is to make sure the party continues to survive. He gets to be disinterested in its growth and he is there to solve problems.
That’s what is happening to Lazarus Chakwera, the MCP president, who is using much of his time to make amends in the party rather than growing it.
He behaves like a watchman who only guards the property already made and his only legitimate function is the protection of MCP individuals from assault from fellow MCP members.
The phrase ‘Night watchman’ was coined by German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle in an 1862 speech in Berlin. He criticized the “bourgeois” liberal limited government state, comparing it to a night watchman whose sole duty was preventing theft.
The phrase quickly caught on as a description of limited government. Ludwig von Mises later opined that Lassalle tried to make limited leadership look ridiculous.
Robert Nozick, a political philosopher, in Anarchy, State, and Utopia argued that a night watchman state of affairs provides a framework that allows for any political system that respects fundamental individual rights only.
Social anarchists– those that believe in promotion of a human well-being-people even in absence of an established state, criticize the state or politics as being founded around the protection of private property and the mode of production that surrounds it.
Thus, social anarchists argue that only with the abolition of the state, whether it be the faux-compassionate welfare state or the boldly unconcerned austerity state, can truly just economic relations and prosperity for all come about.
But the social conservatives argue that the party politics should maintain a moral outlook and legislate against behavior commonly regarded as culturally destructive or immoral; that, indeed, a political party cannot survive if its members do not have a certain kind of character, integrity and civic virtue, and so ignoring the state’s role in forming people’s ethical dispositions can be disastrous.
This state of affairs therefore demands that the leader of a political party be occupied with enforcing morals and creating a virtuous character among its. That’s exactly what is keeping Chakwera busy; vainly attempting to enforce a virtuous character among the unruly MCP members.
Political experts have always wondered why MCP is failing to turn the corner in democratic transformation.
On that question, the obvious answer is that the leader, Chakwera is only playing the role of a night watchman than the role of a progressive and developmental political party leader.
That’s MCP leadership has only afforded to provide the minimal security and protect the death of the party.
Now, being a watchman is an easy job and that is why even old-powerless men are not looked down when thy offer themselves for the watchman services.
MCP is looking for a transformative leader and Chakwera has to stop being a watchman president if he is to save the party that he had thrown into the halls of shame and disrepute.(BY NYONI WA NYONI)