As an insider in the Malawi Congress Party, I would like the nation to know that the oldest party in the country is, once again, setting itself up for failure with regard to the oncoming general elections. Much of what is going on behind the scenes is a recipe for disaster as it weakens the party and leaves room for the Democratic Progressive Party to win handily. There is a lot going on but I can list the following:
1) Making candidates sign onerous contracts pledging that if they lose primaries they will not contest as independents should they wish to do so. This is draconian and dictatorial and has no place in a democracy. Every human being should be allowed to contest in an election as long as they meet the criteria laid out under the constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
2) The unchecked influence of the Mia family in the party, which is reducing the party leader, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, to a position of irrelevance. The Mias have embarked on a mission to destroy the party from within. It is unbelievable how no one in the rank and file of the party sees what is going on. Here are specific examples:
i) Printing and distribution of MCP cloth with Chakwera ‘s face. Chakwera specifically did not want his face on any party materials but at the convention Mrs Mia had printed and distributed the cloth. She was not even reprimanded for that.
ii) Chakwera ordered the cloth out of circulation but Mrs Mia is still distributing it and told Chakwera she would give 10 rolls to every MP. Mrs Mia is now said to be the most powerful person within the party to the extent that Chakwera is taking orders from her.
iii) Chakwera had postponed primaries but Mrs Mia has instructed that primaries should happen from this week. It was the President’s view to wait. This was discussed and agreed at NEC. Only a few MPs largely supported by the Mias want early primaries.
iv) Chakwera instructed that MPs and NEC members should finance and manage party monitors for voter registration but the Mias said they would foot the bill. People relaxed just for last minute to have no funds to pay monitors . Up to now monitors are yet to be given their allowances. There was no food or transport.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Mia family has taken over the party. One wonders whether the idea is to have the party fail in 2019 so they can take it over fully and turn it into a personal estate.
MCP now lacks a coordinated approach and a clear strategy for mapping out a path toward victory. In its current state, it is not well-positioned to mount a strong challenge to the ruling party or even to new players on the market, such as the United Transformation Movement.