When the hyena wants to eat some of its children, goes some humorous African ancient wisdom, it first accuses them of smelling like goats. Reading the scroll of charges against the DPP’s vice-president Kondwani Nankhumwa on Thursday, it made you wink a bit as you grappled with the sensibility of accusations the party hierarchy has thrown towards Nankhumwa.
Apparently, the former scribe-turned-politician raffled wrong feathers by, among others, undermining the party’s president by declaring himself Leader of Opposition against party president’s choice, George Chaponda. Until this moment, this was a rumour nobody cared to confirm.
According to the summons, Nankhumwa played smart Alec, allegedly selling Adadi (father), as party loyalists prefer to call the country’s erstwhile leader, a dummy when Mutharika instructed him to submit to Parliament the name of Nankhumwa’s nemesis, George Chaponda, as Leader of Opposition, only for Nankhumwa to install his own name in the bag.
Then we are told, when the former president tried to find out what the heck was going with Nankhumwa superseding his authority, Nankhumwa, aided by another embattled DPP top wig, the chief executive officer of the party itself, Grezelder Jeffrey—soon to face her own disciplinary grilling—threatened Mutharika, or let’s just say, told Mutharika that if Nankhumwa was replaced with Chaponda, the party will revolt.
The party, in addition, accuses Nankhumwa of flirting with the governing Malawi Congress Party (MCP)—pointing out in its summons to a disciplinary hearing that Nankhumwa met former Official Hostess Cecilia Kadzamira at her home in Lilongwe. Apparently, when you’re in DPP leadership, you cannot visit the home of those perceived to be members of the other camp, let alone an old woman without any official position in the new government or ruling party.
The final count, though, is the most amusing of the lot. The disciplinary committee, apparently, will review whether by Nankhumwa failing to “resolve and respond to queries” about his education background, he has broken the party constitution.
Well, well, well. That last bit is so dramatic that no playwright would have conjured that one.
It confirms, finally, that the issue that has circulated for years about Nankhumwa’s academic papers being possibly fake deserve more credence than the token attention we all have paid it all this time.
But it also raises serious questions, among them, why all this time Nankhumwa was entrusted with the most senior positions in party and government, didn’t the former ruling party care about getting to the bottom of the matter. In a party that just recently controlled all levers of power, the whole intelligence and security apparatus, why didn’t the party “resolve and respond” to these queries until now?
If it smells like a goat, looks like a goat and sounds like a goat, I think the mother hyena would be forgiven for thinking its own child should be supper. All I am saying is that this sounds, smells and feels like a witch-hunt.
This, though, is not to say that Nankhumwa is innocent. Far from it!
All this, is to say, let’s cut each other some crap, what is going on in the DPP is neither an issue of disciplinary concerns or a party trying to find a way to win back its lost glory. What’s happening is fist fight. So far, Nankhumwa’s rivals have shown him their hand, it’s up to him to respond.
But for the benefit of the citizenry, we are yet to be convinced on what’s in it for Malawians. For all we can see, this is a battle of the same old people who messed up the country and the party. For all we know, this persecution of Nankhumwa is not inspired by the desire to end the massive corruption that engulfed the DPP but rather just deciding who succeeds Mutharika as party president.
Well, even this columnist sees no reason why DPP should cling to Mutharika as president and welcomes attempts at succession but succession alone without a review of why the DPP stopped functioning for the benefit of the people will not bring about change of fortune to the party. Men like Chaponda and Nankhumwa are part of the problem that faces DPP, they cannot be the solution. Mutharika shouldn’t take sides in their fight but invite the two to retire with him and allow fresh face and talent, to lead the party. n