Since it was founded by the late Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika in 2005, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has retained the status of being a vibrant, organized and widely-supported political party in Malawi. The DPP emerged from the United Democratic Front (UDF) after President Bingu wa Mutharika’s internal conflicts with his predecessor over some decisions. Announcing the launch of the party in the Capital Lilongwe, Bingu promised three things: development, justice and security.
He struggled through his first term with heavy opposition, both from Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the UDF. The critical thing that came out of the administration was the successful elimination of hunger through the fertilizer subsidy programme signifying the party’s belief in food security. The country became Africa’s ‘food basket’.
Bingu’s first regime proved to the general public, and the international community that Malawi can grow her own economy. Malawi grew her economy; the first five years was a miracle to Malawi. Her economy was the second fastest growing economy, coming only after Qatar. The country’s debt was cancelled and it moved on to be debt-free graduating from being a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC).
DPP’s second term was not a simple battle – amidst stiff opposition, with everyone gunning against the party, they beat the odds and won with a landslide victory in the 2009 general election.
Later on Bingu moved into a vision of seeing Malawi standing on her own. He fought against the imperialism of the international world. They brought in sanctions that were not relevant. He stood against them and we went through a turbulent time to the point that the nation plunged into fuel and forex shortages.
In a tragic turn of events, Malawi lost her great leader, Bingu in April of 2012. A first of its kind in Malawi, losing a seating head of state to death. The DPP lost her great founder and pillar.
What came in after this tragic incident was a ridicule from all angles, some people celebrated, notable people left the DPP, leaving it for dead. The then Vice President Mrs Joyce Banda left with her people, forming the People’s Party (PP) and carried on as Head of State for the remaining two years of the administration.
A leader in the name of Arthur Peter Mutharika came to be and fought for the survival of the DPP, and regrouped DPP from the opposition. It came from Opposition and won in the 2014 tripartite elections, against all odds. People voted DPP because of the promises given and the promises that the party had been fulfilling.
DPP started its reign with the same promise, adding integrity, patriotism and hardwork and have since worked very hard to deliver on her promises. Malawi has not seen deaths caused by famine, albeit going through turbulent times of floods, cashgate and droughts. The economy was brought back into shape, donor confidence restored, foreign direct investments gained, inflation reduced to a single digit.
Arthur Peter Mutharika has continued with the DPP development agenda and we have seen a number of very critical infrastructure in these sectors: water, transport, education and health. The ruling party has put in place systems such as public service reforms – to increase productivity, efficiency and guarantee professionalism in the delivery of public services.
As the DPP is going to their 2018 elective convention, it is not under the easiest of times. They have had some internal battles, which they have carefully managed to resolve.
This could probably be one of the best ever political party convention in the history of Malawi where a combination of youths and old guards have come forth to challenge each other on different positions.
After the Convention, DPP will have a leader that will again propel the party into a landslide victory in the 2019 tripartite election. A journey that was started in 2005 surely continues to its future.
Why DPP will win?
DPP has created a constant pool of its members and voters. Over the years, DPP has developed a partnership of trust with its voters. This is because of its consistency and implementation of its development agenda. Moving toward 2019, it is getting more and more apparent that Malawians from all corners are going to register as voters and retain the DPP in power next year. Town dwellers are going to be voting DPP because of a road they has been constructed in their area, rural youths will be voting blue because of a new technical college that they have, rural women will be voting blue because of the potable and clean water supplying system in their area, hospitals that have been built, schools that have been built; owners of barber shops and maize meals will be voting blue because of rural electrification programmes that have extended power to their area. A lot more others will vote blue because of maturity and wide experience of the President.
Most people in Malawi just love the DPP and what they do. The party doesn’t say much of what they are doing but people see the fruits of their leadership. In time of disaster, the regime quickly deploys assistance and communities recover in no time. They are building a resilient economy in Malawi and that is the DPP: re-emerging against all odds.