Any Malawian who was around during the multiparty referendum in 1993 should appreciate how hard Malawians worked and sacrificed to achieve multiparty democracy in the country. Needless to say that the majority of Malawians would not wish to revert to the one-party system of government.
Having said the above, it is unfortunate and comes as a complete surprise that some leaders in Malawi, especially those in power, seem to think that it is better to destroy opposition parties or make them weak so that the ruling party can have complete control without watchdogs. The ruling party does not waste time on co-opting ordinary members of the opposition, but they aim at leaders of the opposition parties. This is to popularise the ruling party and by extension, the government as well.
The recent display at Masintha ground in Lilongwe of the exodus of the so-called defectors from the opposition parties was rather laughable. Probably, President Peter Mutharika wanted to prove to Malawians that he is running a successful government, which is why people have abandoned their parties to join the ruling DPP. To say the least, such an assumption is a mockery to the poor and suffering Malawians. The speeches from the defectors were the usual meaningless political parroting. Saying that they were to help the President for the sake of Malawians, was not true. Honestly speaking, their defection was for personal benefits from the spoils of government. In fact, most of the defectors were just returning members of the DPP. They had been with the party before and their performance is nothing to write home about.
One might not be wrong to suggest that joining DPP has more to do with greed. Experience has shown that the path to getting rich is by joining the party in power, where one has access to lucrative government contracts and the like. If DPP loses power, the majority of the members will join the next ruling party. The defectors are sometimes heartless in taking bizarre decisions. Malawians can remember how DPP MPs, including some Cabinet ministers defected in their large number to join the People’s Party (PP) when president Bingu wa Mutharika died. In fact, the defections were even before Bingu’s burial. This was shameful. This proves that most people claim to have joined DPP under President Mutharika for his dynamic leadership are just fortune-seekers and the President said this at a rally recently. Surprisingly, defectors are never ashamed to be referred to as fortune-seekers.
On the other hand, the DPP wants to show people that it is popular because of its successful government policies. This is another version of greed. The Mutharika government might want to remain in power and continue with the plunder by claiming to be popular. The government should know better that so far it has not been successful at all. It does not need a genius to know that Malawians are suffering a lot. To make it worse, the government has no immediate solutions. For example, the President says no one in Malawi will die of hunger, fair enough. But the price of maize is too high for the majority of Malawians. Meanwhile, to say that the Mutharika government is successful is a misconception and wishful thinking. It is only the some leaders who are successful because of greed.
If multiparty democracy is to survive in Malawi, people have to watch out and condemn greedy leaders.