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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

DPP Function Review Report Exposes Leadership Vacuum (Read the report in summary here)

Here are some of the Key Points from the Msaka- led DPP Function Review Report which has since been leaked;

2.6 Key General Emerging Organisational Issues

The party members who were met in the review interfaces shared key issues that were not in the DPP of 2005 to 2014, but emerged in the DPP of 2014 on its pace to 2019 and 2020 elections. They felt these are issues that have led to our electoral under performance in 2019 and 2020.

Delving much into the issues to thoroughly diagnose the causes of the decline, and to utilise the interfaces as the due process of self-discovery and self-correction, the participants in all regions shared the following as key aspects that need of urgent attention;

• A growing mistrust between the people and the Party

• The DPP being perceived as inherently corrupt

• Decline in the quality of areas and membership

• Divisions and factions

• Decline in party discipline

• Lack of trust among members

2.6.1 A growing mistrust between the people and the Party

There is a growing mistrust between the people and the party. The people in this case are all citizens who are not holding positions in areas, constituency, district, regional and national committees.

Many people believe the party backs unpopular people in many avenues and constituencies and it thrives on “Mabodza” thereby leaving the people’s choice and opt for those liked by the politburo.

The members gave evidence on the rise of independent members of Parliament in areas where we have DPP counsellors and the DPP president was equally popular. Prominent issues for the members were tribalism, employment, corruption, and selfishness of leaders as displayed by the tribalistic tendencies by those in top leadership by prioritising their tribal allegiance more than their nationalistic posture, deployment of anti-DPP cadres into employment opportunities, publicised corruption of leaders with the party doing nothing and the non-sustainable financing of party.


The DPP perceived as inherently corrupt A principle we must remind ourselves of is that, those who hold positions either in Government or in the structures of the party have no private life. All our actions attract the attention of the society. This is the meaning of being a public figure and, therefore, seen as being of public interest.

Mistakes we committed at Government level affect the DPP directly, and the organisation cannot claim not to be involved. The public outcry about the influence of some members who surrounded the president has led to talk that “Ambili amamunamiza mtsogoleri”.

Serious allegations were made against a number of the leaders of the DPP and this element of being perceived as corrupt and arrogant to allegations exposed the party to “regime change agenda”.

2.6.3 Decline in the quality of areas and membership

The general decline in the quality of membership is a product of the following factors: • Mass recruitment of membership, not a problem in itself, adversely quality over time. The weak induction programme leads to a big membership that does not understand the organisation. This weakens the values and traditions of the organisation.

• Although the membership of the DPP is literate now, the culture of reading policy documents of the party is not there, because political and ideological clarity is no longer the deciding factor for election to leadership positions and deployment in the DPP.

• Members get introduced to perspectives/groupings and factions before they understand the politics of the party. This lack of understanding translates into brutality against one another in a phenomenon of being with us or against us.

• The real DPP Activism is in decline, depriving new members of the training ground. As a result, overall, very few Areas run real campaigns. The structures do not understand their role. Membership to the party structures is equated to being a mere voter, the party has not created political education

PAGE 39 FUNCTIONAL REVIEW REPORT on the role of being a member.

The constitution is silent on the duties and rights of being a member to the DPP.

• A projection of arrogance, which hides the reality.

• Informal or lack of political education in the party. The poor quality of Areas is, in fact, lack of capacity at the level where it matters the most. As a result, responsibility to campaign even for elections is heavily dependent on regional, district and national leadership.

That is why in the case of General elections or by- elections, in almost all the regions, there is an expectation that not the CC and NGC, but the regional and district Officials should visit the wards or constituencies. There is nothing wrong with that, but when it reaches a stage of being an expectation, it reflects on the quality of membership, leadership and institutionalisation in general.

 2.6.4 Divisions and factions Divisions and factions are a reality in our party. This makes it attractive to attack individuals we perceive to be our enemies. It involves consciously deciding to undermine one another, including the various offices of the party. Although we deny it because we know that it is wrong, we are beginning to put personal interest ahead of the very party we seek to keep. We defy the party in substance, because the factions say so.

When the CC takes a decision, which directs that only principles must be discussed on the succession question, membership goes ahead and pronounce on their preferred candidates and start more internal politicking than outward focused politics. It is not because members and leadership do not understand, but they are deliberately undermining the party. Factions are divisive, destructive and subjective.

As long as we put our factions and personal ambitions ahead of the DPP, we are actively destroying it and condemning it to its slow death. In this moment of factionalism, the Political Directorate was supposed to come in with an educative DPP literature on the dangers of factionalism, but even the very NGC is captured and drowned into factionalism.


2.6.5 Decline in party discipline

The DPP is a rules-based organisation. Its membership is expected to comply with the rules in the form of values, traditions, directives or decisions of the structures of the Party. When members defy these, it becomes a free- for-all with everyone acting at will; and anarchy and chaos reign. We are fast approaching that stage as members do not feel obliged to be guided by the directives of the party.

It is even doubted if the CC itself is behaving in the very interest of the party. Those of us who project themselves as ‘holier than thou’ contribute to the chaos, because of a conception that a leadership they despise does not need to be respected. In the process, we fail to respect our own party decisions. Discipline does not start at the point of the disciplinary process, but when the party makes pronouncements.

When members deviate, a phone call from the senior organs should be regarded as part of the disciplinary process. When one ultimately gets censored, it is a very serious stage, close to the last resort. Deliberate deviation from the rules is ill- discipline of the highest order. When the various structures of the party fail to discipline members at the point closest to where the transgression took place, discipline collapses. The members then expect the other structures to discipline the members, which is a serious sign of the collapse of discipline.

Another manifestation is when members undermine structures and prefer a hot line with the national leadership. Claiming “ndilankhula ndi mabwana kumtunda”, It starts as a genuine expression of unhappiness, but ends up being a serious effort of factionalising the national leadership and to contact them selectively. An ordinary matter such as monetary issues or materials issues ends up being discussed with the Head Office. The motivation is that the comrades do not trust the structures close to the occurrence.

2.6.6 Lack of trust among members

The party has lost one of its key defining characteristics of trust. We have a party whose members do not trust their own leadership in structures when it comes to finances, material and many resources.


Conclusions and Recommendations

3.1 Conclusion The report finds the prospects of the party in its current position are not positive but can be turned around. The following are the concluding statements by this report:

• The objectives of the Democratic Progressive Party (the Party) have tilted with time and events and must be reframed.

• The structure and existing positions of the party needs review and reorientation. Redefining and clarifying the job descriptions of each proposed position so as to ensure clear division of functions is of great urgency.

• The Party Constitution must be reviewed and recreated to match the time and events to ensure that it is realigned and in tandem with the new purposes, objectives and vision of the Party and the new structure.

• DPP needs to clarify and decide firmly of in financing sources and sustain its strategies that will put the party on a sustainable financial base.

• In the wake of emerging organisational issues, DPP must brace for a critical need to have leadership reframed, and decision making to be guided by objective principles upon which the party is founded for.

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