Hope Alliance is a grouping of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MPs fighting for change within the party.
One MP has already denounced his membership, insisting he would rather save his businesses than be ruined financially.
Blantyre West MP Wells Gama, who initially told Weekend Nation that he was a member of the alliance, backtracked two weeks ago at a public rally in his constituency which was addressed by DPP third vice- president, Dr Jean Kalirani.
But DPP secretary general Wakuda Kamanga has denied the allegations that the party interferes with the said businesses, arguing it does not even know the MPs have businesses. He also said the party will not fire the MPs because it wants to change the culture of firing parliamentarians with dissenting views.
DPP has in the past fired dissenting voices. The Vice-President Joyce Banda and MPs such as Khumbo Kachali, Henry Phoya and Lifred Nawena wereÃ‚Â booted out of the party for the same.
In an interview on Tuesday, Gama said he withdrew from the alliance to save his businesses. He said he would rather save his businesses although things are still going wrong in the country.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Things are not okay. It is better to save a business and survive in town. We cannot just depend on parliament money. It is hard to fight against government. You end up getting harmed,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gama who claimed that his clearing company, Tradex Clearing International, was closed for two weeks but reopened soon after he publicly denounced his Hope Alliance membership.
Asked whether the issues he was fighting for in the alliance have improved, Gama said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Things have not changed but there are a lot of members who are quiet and fighting underground. I think that is the best way to do it than coming out in the open.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He insisted this is not the end of the alliance, saying: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some members will still be meeting to map the way forward but I do not see people coming out in the open because at the rate things are going, you can lose your life. When you experience silence from us, do not be surprised. Some of us started businesses long time ago and it is better to save the businesses although things are going bad.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Another member of the alliance, Jeffrey Ntelemuka, MP for Blantyre City South East, said his companies are experiencing external interference because of his membership. The companies are Ntelemuka Trading and Ntelemuka Building Contractors.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My transport company and building company are facing interference but I did not allow to be paraded on air to announce my withdrawal from the alliance. It will never happen. I will fight to the end,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Ntelemuka.
He said he has been in business for long and has other ways of surviving. On how he knows that the closure of his businesses is by those in the ruling party, Ntelemuka said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their boys tell us that there is no more business with me and when I ask why, they say they are following orders from above.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said he did not expect the treatment the alliance members are getting in a democratic Malawi.
Mulanje Pasani MP Peter Nowa also claimed that some thugs went to his home village in Mulanje and threatened his sisters that they would petrol bomb their houses. Nowa was summoned to appear before party officials, including secretary general Wakuda Kamanga to force him change his stand on the alliance.
Nowa said he did not report the threats to police because he wanted to meet the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s secretary general first. He claimed to know the people who issued the threats and wanted to ask Kamanga to talk to them.
NowaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sisters were not available to confirm the threats. Their mobile phones were switched off when we called them Friday morning.
The MP said his sisters did not report the incident to police since they were waiting for advice from him. The MP said he would take action after meeting Kamanga.
He said he would denounce his membership to save his life and those of his relatives.
Spokesperson of the grouping, Moses Kunkuyu of Blantyre City South, described as unfortunate claims that DPP is strangling businesses belonging to members of the alliance.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If that is the spirit, then it is unfortunate because it is not the said businesses that are closed that are speaking for Malawians. It is the voices that speak for the people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The voices cannot be silenced,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kunkuyu on Tuesday in an interview.
The MP said one is at liberty to leave the alliance if one thinks problems in his constituency have been addressed.
Kunkuyu said there is need for people at the grass roots to meet and tell the President how they are suffering and lacking development in their areas. He said ministers have visited several constituencies but do not report back the true picture they get from the ground.
But Kamanga distanced the party from the MPsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ claims: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do not know if they have businesses. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if their businesses are closed. Businesses can close for non performance. Nobody has complained to me that their businesses have been closed. Dig more to find if their businesses are closed by DPP.Ã¢â‚¬Â
We could not independently verify the closures.
On the threats MPs claim to be receiving, Kamanga said the party does not condone such threats. He said such threats were unfortunate because Ã¢â‚¬Å“we are in democracy, open society, we want freedom, liberty for all.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Asked why the party has not fired the rebel MPs as it did with others, Kamanga said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“That was in the past. We are not in the business of firing people. It is not in our culture to fire people. Our thinking has dramatically changed.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said the party was still engaging the MPs and hoped that Ã¢â‚¬Å“reason would prevail for them to return.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The alliance was announced in January with an agenda to fight for good governance and restore support from the electorate in the run-up to the 2014 elections.
Kunkuyu claimed there were 41 MPs in the alliance who loved the party and would like to bring hope to Malawians by ensuring that it observes the rule of law, good governance, democracy and that the masses are able to get basic needs.
The alliance observed that the image of the party is destroyed and that most DPP MPs would not comfortably campaign in 2013 unless the house is cleaned and the image improved.