A man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point, so wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera is a man of faith. He stands for what he believes. You can’t move him. In fact, head-on attempts to persuade him can sometimes trigger a backfire effect.
People like Chakwera not only fail to change their minds when confronted with the facts, they may hold their wrong views more tenaciously than ever. The word change to them does not exist. You can urge them to change but they will not until the cows come home.
After the Sunday showdown in Lilongwe, what more evidence do you want that Chakwera and MCP will never change?
The national executive council meeting the party held on Sunday in Lilongwe, to neutrals, is nothing but a Kangaroo court. It was a platform to please Chakwera, and for the MCP leader to show all and sundry that he is in charge of the fading opposition party.
After meeting for 9 hours—possibly due to lack of leadership and direction—the national executive council (NEC) members resolved to suspend the party’s first deputy president Richard Msowoya and secretary general Gustave Kaliwo. Their crime: allegedly trying to destabilise the party. But the truth is, the two have been openly opposing Chakwera’s political principles.
Chakwera’s advisors or call them members of the national executive council–are nothing but wolves in sheep’s clothing for reaching this verdict. Because they know that it is only at the party’s convention where leaders of the party can be elected or removed by consensus.
The decision on Sunday, which is yet to be endorsed by the party—as those fired or suspended are yet to be served with letters—will only bring about the collapse and the decay of the party ahead of 2019 elections.
In fact, word on the street is that, MCP should expect to spend more time at the courts fighting injunctions than campaigning on the field should they go ahead with the decision to fire its executive members.
But why is Chakwera and MCP not tolerant? Is it because MCP has been intolerant for many years?
We on the streets have it on good record that the support base in the Centre is very intolerant because they feel they own the party. For them, opposing views are unacceptable. Even the media is an enemy. Only the people from the Centre can be right in MCP. It’s a rotten system Kamuzu Banda built in the party that Chakwera now must try to change. And change he must or the party will die.
He has to understand, that there are people in the MCP who are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the MCP system that they will fight to protect it even if it means the party losing general elections in 2019.
MCP has an opportunity to take over government in 2019, with ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wobbling like a wounded buffalo, the People’s Party (PP) in disarray and the United Democratic Front (UDF) fast fading into the blue.
It must not go back to its old ways of doing business. It’s time to change, to embrace those from the North and South. For how long will Chakwera preach to the choir?
This time Chakwera should analyse the party’s performance of 2014 elections and see where things went wrong. He must ask why the MCP is a perennial loser even in Ntcheu. What about Neno and Mwanza districts those are in close proximity with Ntcheu?
The youth in the party are demanding real reforms and real change, not the hypocrisy of rewarding leaders with fake loyalty.
He should learn that in politics people within the same party can differ in principle but continue to work together without expelling each other out. In fact, differences in an organisation are inevitable and it is incumbent upon the leader to handle them maturely.
Don’t they say the strength of a man is measured by his ability to solve problems? It is high time Chakwera strengthened the party in the South with Sadik Mia and in the North with Msowoya instead of expending his energy suspending people with dissenting views in the party.
Word on the street is that, the crisis in MCP will not end until Chakwera and his ‘wise men from the Centre’ masquerading as national executive council members learn to embrace other people’s views.