Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the once Mighty Malawi Congress Party? That is the question. But there is no question about the fact that Lazarus Chakwera’s leadership and personality have irreparably damaged the MCP.
The fact that a Saulos Chilima who has no party, no grassroots structures, no clear vision can infiltrate MCP and buy out such a large number of MPs tells us one thing: Chakwera is not in control of the party.
Things have fallen apart and the center cannot hold anymore.
However, let us put one thing on record. The real political muscle grabbing MPs from MCP is not Chilima as such. It is actually Richard Msowoya. It is Msowoya who has been inviting MPs to his office and recruiting them for the movement. It is also Msowoya who has the money for buying MPs and not Chilima.
Msowoya (a Nyakusya by tribe) is the hidden factor in the equation of the Chilima movement.
Msowoya has done with MCP what Chilima wanted to do with DPP but grossly failed and chickened out. At the time Chilima was chickening out of DPP, we all clearly remember Chilima’s famous words: “I don’t want to fight the owners of the party.” Chilima suddenly saw that he was fighting a solid DPP where key founders and trustees were still solidly guarding the party.
In contrast, the Chilima movement has found an MCP where the veterans who have laboured and suffered for the Party for 24 years the MCP has been in Opposition were already pushed, marginalized and discarded by Chakwera. This is how Chakwera’s Convention has killed MCP.
The MPs who are drifting to the Chilima side are only escaping a sinking ship.
Now let us examine exactly how Chakwera killed MCP.
• The first blunder Chakwera made was that he is a political tenant who tried to kick out the landlord of the house. Chakwera was recruited by John Tembo, and it was Chatinkha who facilitated the recruitment while Moses Khombe introduced Chakwera to chiefs and grassroots of the party.
But Chakwera was so blindly power hungry, and so blindly obsessed with ambition that he marginalized Tembo and started purging anyone who was a threat to him.
• The second blunder Chakwera made was to reduce MCP from a national party to a district organization. In his mistaken belief that MCP is a Chewa party, Chakwera pushed out the Ngonis of Dedza and Salima (because he feared a John Tembo dynasty) and ended up being surrounded by his Lilongwe homeboys. That is the point when Jessie Kabwila, Felix Jumbe and Juliana Lunguzi became enemies for Chakwera.
At the same time, Chakwera also marginalized old guards like Njobvuyalema, Belekanyama and Foloma Mwale because they too were a threat. (Like Kamuzu Banda, Chakwera gets threatened by anyone with better knowledge, skills and experience than him because he suffers from an innermost confidence crisis. By the end of the day, Chakwera is a coward.)
• The third blunder Chakwera made was to violate the MCP Constitution. This is the Constitution that has kept and guarded the party throughout its troubled times of being in position from the time of Bakili Muluzi to the present time. Killing the Party Constitution is as good as killing the Party because the constitution is the spirit and soul of the party.
• The fourth blunder Chakwera made was to sell the Party to Sidik Mia, a complete outsider who invaded and hijacked the MCP NEC with his own team from People’s Party. That K200 million that Chakwera received from Mia sold Malawi Congress Party to a stranger who has never been part of the history of MCP. Now it is this stranger who is commanding the shots in MCP.
Mia can afford to dissolve a committee in Mchinji and a committee in Jessie Kabwila’s constituency without the knowledge of Chakwera.
Mia convenes his own meetings at Halima Daudi’s home and other venues without involving political party structures whatsoever. The most disheartening part is that while Chakwera is identifying MP shadow candidates, Mia is also planting his own shadow MPs in the same constituencies. This is chaos.
• The fifth blunder Chakwera made was, with total disregard of the Party Constitution, Chakwera fired district and regional governors who have been _de facto_ custodians of the Malawi Congress Party since the fall of Kamuzu Banda. Chakwera is a President of the party who has divorced himself from the center and severed himself from the roots of the very party he is leading.
The result of the situation analysed above is that there is loss of leadership and direction in the party. Chakwera has lost his command. Yet, everyone is looking for leadership. Some follow Mia. Others follow Chakwera. Some follow Msowoya (who is selling MCP to Chilima movement). But the district and regional governors do not trust any of the three because all they want is to restore the glory of the once mighty MCP.
This confusion has come from Chakwera’s blunders. Chakwera is a self-doomed character obsessed with blind ambition for power. He is like a blind dragon that steps on everyone to his doom. Unfortunately, Chakwera fall has taken down Malawi Congress Party as well.