Some said this party carries the curse of the seven bishops they nearly slaughtered. Some say the party carries the curse of the dead it killed. Others say it is the curse of the 22,000 victims still seeking justice at the Ombudsman.
Whatever, but Malawi Congress Party always lapses into a circus of self-destructive confusion every time elections are coming close. Now the confusion has begun again. This time, it’s a political crisis promising more confusion, chaos and bloodshed.
What has been slowly rising into a political storm suddenly turned into an ugly drama on Tuesday morning when Members of Parliament gathered at the party headquarters and attempted to fire the party’s Vice President and their own Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya and Secretary General of the party, Gustav Kaliwo.
The debate was divided and heated. Threats of exchanging blows, swearing and banging tables characterised the meeting of the Honourable Members.
Finally, 18 MPs stormed out in protest against the call by a pro-Chakwera camp to fire the Vice President and the Secretary General.
The remaining MPs went ahead and bound resolutions, which were leaked before the meeting closed.
Msowoya and Kaliwo are leading a camp that seeks to uphold MCP as a party that follows its constitution. Many say represent the true MCP.
But seeking democracy in Malawi Congress Party is a crime. In the process, they have become subjects of vindictive treatment, political bullying and civil victimization.
The MPs who insisted on firing the two senior officials questioned the constitutionality of the politburo (management committee). Ironically, this meeting of MPs is itself illegal given that, in the MCP Constitution, MPs cannot constitute any committee except when they are part of the Convention. Thus, an illegal assembly of MPs met to question the legality of a meeting convened by the bona fide Secretary General of the Party.
On the other hand, Msowoya and his camp met and questioned the legality of Chakwera’s decision to invite to a management committee meeting members that are not recognized in the Constitution.
That a section of MPs is questioning the constitutionality of the politburo goes to explain their desire to flagrantly breach their own principal laws.
Article 3, Sections 4, 5 and 6 of MCP Constitution provides for a management committee -otherwise known as politburo.
The meeting of the MPs itself at which some of them sought the sacking of their Deputy President and Secretary General is not provided for in the party’s constitution. In other words, it was unconstitutional.
According to the party’s Constitution, the only time that the party can make such decisions is only during a convention and at no other time.
ENTER ZIKHALE THE STRATEGIST
The chaotic situation in the MCP is made even more chaotic by Chakwera’s strategist who specializes in leaking documents, creating fake minutes of meetings that don’t exist as well as fake Whatsapp conversations in order to embroil Msowoya in deeper trouble.
Chakwera roped in Ken Zikhale Ng’oma to the chagrin of everyone when he gave him the position of a strategist. This position does not exist in the party’s constitution. Needless to say, it was only a convention that gives people positions.
Be that as it may, it emerged that Zikhale’s strategy has been to destroy MCP, apparently without him knowing it.
Amid the crisis, Zikhale has crafted two documents within the past four days. The documents have only been successful in driving the wedge deeper and deeper in MCP and leave its followers more and more confused and lost.
Both documents malign Msowoya and his camp, while casting hallo of holiness on Chakwera and his side.
The first document to circulate claimed that Msowoya and his camp organized a meeting in Lilongwe where they agreed to form a party, the National Congress Party, with the aim to fight to change MCP.
The document was basically intended to smear Msowoya and others and galvanize the sentiment that they should be fired from the party.
Interestingly, in his short memory Zikhale forgot that National Congress Party already exists at the Registrar of Political Parties. It was registered by Heatherwick Ntaba some years back. It did not take a genius to decipher that the minutes was fake.
It simply did not convince anyone how Msowoya and Kaliwo would be fighting for democratic leadership and constitutionalism to fix MCP, and at the same time, that the same people should be seeking to form another political party. The political logic went missing.
Noting the failure of the first document, Zikhale has crafted alleged minutes of meeting of the Livingstonia Synod which went viral today. Chakwera must have approved the document.
The document is also a smear campaign by Zikhale to portray the image that the synod and the North in general have rejected Msowoya, and therefore propping up the sentiment that he needs to be fired from the party.
The strategy was to make people believe that Msowoya has disappointed the Synod, which wants to work with Chakwera. Reading in-between the lines and listening in-between the words, Chakwera and his strategist want Malawians to think that Msowoya has been rejected by the North.
One can see that Chakwera roped in Zikhale who is only antagonizing the conflict instead of strategizing to resolve it and let the party get organized for next elections.
THE MIA FACTOR
In roping in Mia, Chakwera thought he was bringing in a standard around which the party would rally. That has proven not to be the case. In fact, Mia is Chakwera’s downfall.
Since his coming into MCP, Mia has been a polarizing figure and has continued to raise eyebrows with his desire to fly above the ordinary pitch. He is one of those responsible for tearing down MCP.
Mia has behaved as a position holder in the party, calling the shots, often with Chakwera on the bicycle carrier, to the disgust of the rest of party loyalists.
Mia has been campaigning nation-wide without other MCP officials and talking to Sheikhs of inheriting MCP.
Today, he again lived up to his ambition again. He organized a press briefing in Blantyre where he welcomed people into the party. That has caused huge discomfort among some in MCP ranks who are asking: “Akulandira anthu ngati ndani munthu woti alibe udindo wina uliwonse muchipani?”
This should not be surprising. When Mia was joining the party at a function in Chikwawa, he came to the rally with pomp and fanfare. Being the one joining the party, protocol says Mia was supposed to be at the rally before Chakwera as president. Instead, it was Chakwera who was first.
While Chakwera sat in his chair, Mia drove in on his on his motorcade and Chakwera was the one rolling out the red carpet. Now truth can come out. Mia is feeling so big because he bought the President of the party out. Mia paid Chakwera K200 million, which the Reverend pocketed in his self-aggrandizement.
Mia’s conduct form the start has been a source of discontent in MCP.
These actions of his have compounded speculations that he is building his political base for the top job in the party.
Now Mia has become the party’s political monster, tearing it asunder as he grows wings ready to fly on his blind ambition to become the party’s president.
A PARTY WITHOUT NEC
Amid all this chaos and because of it, MCP continues to fall further into the abyss because it does not have NEC.
The absence of NEC means there is neither mechanism nor institution within the party that can provide easily acceptable leadership to resolve the political quagmire. That is the real tragedy of the Malawi Congress Party.
Chakwera dismantled NEC, chasing away those that were the real NEC and were ready to play the game by the rules of the party.
In the end, Chakwera has built around himself a team of 73 members which he calls NEC.
That NEC is unconstitutional. The real NEC is not functioning.
So, without a centre, there is no one to hold things from falling apart.
It has become a situation where football players have abandoned the pitch which is well demarcated, has regulations, referees and goal posts opting to play the game on a pitch where boundaries do not exist, where everyone is a referee, where there are no goals and where everyone plays in every position.
This political circus of chaos has only begun.
While Msowoya and Kaliwo want the game to be played on a proper pitch, Chakwera and his followers want to play it on an unorganized pitch.
This bloody crisis in MCP could be in its early stages!
Then there is Mia the business magnet who bought the whole president of the party and is now working underground to steal the party from its veterans. The voters are watching, bewildered. This political tragedy reads like a comedy, but a comedy that will end in tears again!