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Thursday, May 23, 2024

OPINION: Will the expulsions, defections of mighty DPP members weaken the party?

By Rick Dzida

Recently, the Central Committee of the main opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expelled and suspended some of its members due to what was deemed as gross indiscipline and violation of the party constitution.

Notable on the list of expulsion were Kondwani Nankhumwa, the mastermind behind the DPP coup d’état  and other National Governing Council members such as Grezelder Jeffrey, Ken Msonda, Nicholas Dausi and many others.

As a matter of fact, it is not strange for the party to discipline its members for violating its party constitution. This has happened before in other political parties too.

It therefore boggles one’s mind when the whole ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) criticizes DPP for firing its members. This is hypocrisy at its apex.

It therefore logical to conclude that MCP was the mastermind behind the current internal DPP squabbles.

Just to double-click your memory a bit, in 2016, the then main opposition party, MCP fired 9 Southern region committee members from their positions following violence that  erupted in which the Administrative Secretary Potipher Chidaya was beaten.

In 2017, the People’s Party fired its Vice President, Uladi Mussa for what appeared as a struggle for power.

In 2019, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera engineered the firing of Salima Central legislator Felix Jumbe, Denis Nathumba, Lyton Dzombe, Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma and Azam Mwale from the party for brewing divisions in the party.

In the same year, Lazarus Chakwera also led the charge to suspend its Secretary General (SG) Gustav Kaliwo , Spokesperson Jessie Kabwila and lawmaker Joseph Njobvuyalema  while pending disciplinary hearing.

In 2022, MCP fired one of its members, Alex Major, for allegedly undermining party president Lazarus Chakwera and sowing seeds of disunity in the party.

Having substantiated the normalcy of disciplining party members, perhaps one pertinent question is, will the suspensions, expulsions and defections of DPP members weaken the party?

The answer  is that it will entirely depend on how DPP will politically strategise itself for 2025 tripartite elections.

Of course, the painful truth  is that some of the expelled DPP gurus will go away with a good bunch of gullible followers.

However, by clearing such rubbles from the party, there is room for building the party with remaining loyal and trusted members.

If MCP managed to excommunicate its indispensable members but later went forward to win the 2020 presidential election, then what can prevent DPP from doing  the same?

Furthermore, with the current political turbulence, DPP must expect again another massive exodus of its member to other political parties after an elective party convention.

There are some DPP members who are just trying their luck to grab National Executive Committee (NEC) positions. However, once they lose the election, the disgruntled party members and their followers will most likely seek green pasture in other political parties.

It is against this background that  an elective DPP convention should be held as early as possible to give time for political turbulence to stabilise thereafter.

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