The Road to Electoral Graveyard

In 1963 Nyasaland got partial independence from British colonialism with Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda named the Nyasaland Prime Minister. On July, 6 1964, Nyasaland got full independence and Kamuzu became the first President. He later changed the name from Nyasaland to Malawi meaning the country flaming with fire. In 1971, Kamuzu was pronounced the life President by his hands clappers. This made Kamuzu not to think that any one in the name of Chakufwa Chihana and Bakili Muluzi would come against him. The naming of Kamuzu as the life president made many young Malawians; especially children believed that Kamuzu Banda will not die. When I was a child we were urged not to mention his name or ill speak about him because he could hear us from wherever he was. This was because the distorted Malawi Youth League was in every village and city serving as Kamuzu’s eyes and ears. Kamuzu Banda was made a god to others and a dictator also because people around him pronounced him Mkango wa Malawi (the lion of Malawi). He somehow ruled the country with an iron fist but he also contributed a lot to this country. Kamuzu Banda took the country when it only had two hospitals, two secondary schools, two tar mark roads and one airport (Chileka airport). He deserves our forgiveness for other things he did wrong more especially because of people who dafted him. With the Catholic pastoral letter to Kamuzu in 1992 against his dictatorship, came forward Chakufwa Chihana and Bakili Muluzi to fight for democracy. Malawians voiced out in favour of democracy in 1993 referendum.

In 1994, many people surrounding Kamuzu Banda were as deceitful to him as the bible says in Jeremiah 17:9. Kamuzu lost elections in May, 1994 with thousands and thousands of people in his rallies shouting and singing “Zivute zitani ife a Malawi, tiri pambuyo pa Kamuzu”, tidzafa, hee, tidzafa, hee, tidzafa naye, tiri pambuyo pa Kamuzu” (No matter what, we are with Kamuzu until death). It was a night mare to Kamuzu Banda when he realised that thousands who claimed to follow him were beguilers. Bakili Muluzi defeated him execrably. You wonder, where were his thousands and thousands followers during May, 1994 election. The reality is that, they voted for Bakili Muluzi.

Since 1994, there have been many political parties of which some of them are just nuclear family parties only to realize that founders of such parties become our leaders. Do you remember, how many votes Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika used to get in 1999 election in different constituencies? They used to be zero, 2, 5 and other miserable votes. What does this mean to you? To me, this means that even his relatives never voted for him in 1999 election but only God knew about his future in Malawian politics, because he became our leader by God’s own ways. Don’t despise God’s plans. Before Kamuzu Banda died in 1997, he kept on saying that, he would not appoint Hon. John Tembo for Malawi Congress Party’s leadership. This would mean that, he did not trust Hon. John Tembo for whatever reasons beyond our reach instead he preferred Gwanda Chakuwamba to John Tembo. After Gwanda Chakuwamba lost election in 1999, he formed his own URP party which took him to 2004 election which mislaid him though he believed that he won. He later left MCP because it was like a cat and rat with John Tembo.

Kamuzu Banda died while not trusting Hon. John Tembo, a tool which was used against him by the DPP towards 2009 elections saying “don’t vote for Hon. Tembo who was not even trusted by founder and father of our nation Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.” I would like to shout bravo to Honourable John Tembo for his faithfulness to the party Kamuzu Banda left. If Kamuzu was alive, I believe he would have regretted because Gwanda, whom he entrusted with MCP leadership, left the party. Well, it may be that John Tembo was not friendly to him but in Africa, we treasure the words of the dead. Now Gwanda wants to go back to the party at this time which just shows his desperation. Some of you would believe me that, if it was not for Hon. John Tembo the MCP would be no more by now. Hon. John Tembo is a much disciplined person who is not in any way a gold digger. He has never allowed selling the party for his own good like we have seen such parties as Maravi People’s Party being dissolved because the leader got what he was looking for.  UDF, DPP and PP have given Hon. John Tembo many offers just to make sure that as Bakili Muluzi said, Chipani chithe ngati makatani (be torn like curtains). Hon. John Tembo has contested for presidency twice and lost both though MCP still believes it won 2004 and 2009 elections, but what is in electoral books is that the party was mislaid. Besides Hon. Tembo keeping MCP to date, many questions than answers are being raised, as to whether Hon. John Tembo really loves the party for its good or for the good of himself. People who love what they have laboured for write wills so that after they die, the wealth is in good hands. When writing a will, people give more to those they trust most and just for daily food to those they don’t trust their capability.

In the Bible, before David died, he appointed Solomon King over Israel and guided him. By the time David died, Solomon had received enough counsel and with him, Israel prospered. This is the time John Tembo should show real love of the party by mentoring someone before it is too late. If Hon. Tembo does not write a will now, whatever he has laboured for in MCP will bear no fruits. If Hon. Tembo sticks to the party’s presidency, the party will die together with him because whoever will take it will not have his good counsel. Tembo has been the MP since 1964 and should show that MCP is his dear party by stepping down and offer a counsel to the one who is going to win during the forthcoming convention on how he has managed to maintain the party since 1999, thus, if he does not contest. Patricia Kaliati jokingly says Hon. John Tembo has been the MP since she was in class three and now sitting together in the parliament. I would describe MCP as the lucky party for the coming general election only if Tembo steps down. Tembo will be remembered as a democrat if he steps down for other MCP presidential aspirants. People with integrity such as Lovemore Munlo, Felix Jumbe, Lazarus Chakwera and others credited MCP. The question is, why not other parties? These people have a better explanation which may include MCP being disciplined party. I am not trying to campaign for any one or any party for that is not my responsibility but I would like to say that “ukapanda mano usamaswe phale”. Hon. John Tembo should not let the party die just to not see another person leading it. The problem is that, like Kamuzu, Hon. John Tembo has been surrounded by people who are misleading him for selfish gain. People like Honourable Portipher Chidaya and Njobvuyalema should accept that everything has its own time by advising Hon. Tembo to step down for the good of Malawian youngsters to come in. Believe me, 2014 general election will be electoral graveyard for MCP if Tembo does not step down which many people who do not wish the party good are waiting for. This is not ringing any bell in the ears of Chidaya, Njobvuyalema and Hon Tembo himself. MCP has hope to bounce back to power in 2014 only if it allows new blood carry its flag towards 2014 general election which is not a wish of other parties. However it is not a guarantee that once Tembo steps down the party will win because other parties are also campaigning but there may be some hope. If Tembo uses his political marshal in MCP to retain party presidency during its convention, instead of MCP celebrating for conducting convention, it will be DPP, PP and UDF which will have feasts for its downfall knowing that it will be buried in 2014. If MCP wins after Tembo steps down which should be its only strategy, it will be people Like Chidaya, Njobvuyalema, Jole Kalero who will get high positions in its government but these people are not seeing it. They are proud of being an opposition party which is not the wish of its supporters. It is also believed that the party’s convention is being delayed for Hon. Tembo to buy time just in case he is not allowed to contest during its convention or looses. To me, this is not buying time but rather selling it because time is tickling every second giving the party no time to sell its flag bearer.

You are wondering, why wasting time advising MCP leadership, it is because Malawi wants to see new blood in all parties so that despite which party wins in 2014, we have new people leading us. We do not want any political party make another life president. I wish Malawi the best. If MCP amends its constitution during its convention to accommodate Hon. John Tembo, we will not trust such a party with our Republican constitution come May 2014. The truth is that, the fact that we are in democracy, we should check out democratisation in all political parties in our country. You may ask, why is a Pastor commenting on political matters? Note that it was the Church’s effort that we got democracy in 1994 and when the Church is quiet on political issues, things get messed up and the Church gets affected too. The Church should not be needed only when the nation sniffs danger but also in advising to prevent it. This is my unsolicited advice given to the MCP leadership. MCP has been advised on this many times by well wishers and if it brushes off these valuable advices, it should not regret when the party gets buried come May 2014. Don’t say you were not told.

Once again, Congratulations Hon. JZU. Tembo for the work well done in MCP but, please give others a chance and be a party adviser. You have done a recommendable job during your party presidency.


One Response

  1. This is a good article.

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