I have always known and regarded Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Francis Kasaila as one of the very few people in DPP who use their brains more than their emotions when making decisions. He is cool, cautious and invests a lot sense in what he says. He is a huge contrast with the party’s vocal secretary general, Greselder Jeffrey.
To that extent, I hold Kasaila in high regard. But now I am beginning to think I may have overrated him, if not known him very well altogether.
Kasaila told Parliament last week that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) killed a lot of inmates at Nsanje Prison when the party was in power. The statement was an apparent reaction to the stinging attack leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera made on President Peter Mutharika the other week.
Deputy speaker Ether Mcheka-Chilenje asked Kasaila to bring evidence for his spat on MCP. This week the DPP spokesperson tendered the so-called evidence to the deputy speaker, which is yet to be made public.
To start with, Kasaila’s outbursts against MCP are not in sync with the party’s current line of thinking and strategy. Against the background of DPP’s miserable loss in the October 17 by-elections, the party has also been re-strategising and repositioning itself to frustrate the proposed electoral reforms.
To this end, it has been courting and wooing almost everybody—from the Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera to MCP MPs, PP parliamentarians to chiefs, to visiting MCP former president John Tembo.
The DPP also fears the proposed electoral reform for a presidential candidate to win with more than 50 percent of the votes. This is meant to replace the first-past-the-post system currently in use. DPP does not see itself winning the polls in 2019 if the reforms are implemented. This is against the backdrop that only 36 percent of Malawians voted for the DPP candidate Peter Mutharika in 2014. The party is not sure it has done enough to change the political landscape.
This is the reason the DPP-led government has been flip-flopping on a number of issues. It has reversed the proposed new fees and fines for the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services. It has reversed the new electricity tariff. It has also lifted the export ban on maize. From all these things, you can see that the DPP is shaken to its roots and is applying all the tricks in the book to gain favour from the people as well as portray itself differently.
Of course, the only thing it has failed to do is to quickly do something and avert the electricity blackouts. In fact, it has courted for itself more problems for failing to procure the much-talked about gensets. The result is subjecting Malawians to 25 hours of blackout. This is reminiscent of the fuel shortage under Bingu’s leadership.
For this posturing on the part of the DPP, it is counter-productive for Kasaila to be demonizing MCP now. DPP must come with a very clean slate to be successful in vilifying MCP. The DPP government killed 20 innocent people during the July 21 2011 peaceful marches. The graves of these innocent souls are there for all to see at Katoto Cemetery in Mzuzu. Former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) corporate affairs director Issa Njauju was murdered in cold blood under the DPP. The government has shown no willingness to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.
The late fourth year Polytechnic student Joseph Chasowa was murdered under the DPP-led government and by people said to be close to the party. While a postmortem by an independent expert has shown Chasowa was bludgeoned to death, the DPP-led government strangely to this day continues to claim that he committed suicide.
The DPP-led government has succeeded in frustrating the prosecution of those implicated in the K577 billion Cashgate—which has been reduced to K236 billion. DPP knows some of its members are implicated.
Then, there is the K1.9 billion fuel stabilization funds from the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) dubiously paid to Admarc allegedly to purchase maize. Who has seen the maize? People want those who acquired tractors that government bought with a loan from the Import Export Bank of India prosecuted? The list of atrocities the DPP has committed and continues to do so with abandon is long. Let DPP come clean before it starts barking against MCP.