In a move that could be a pointer to infighting in the erstwhile governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a group calling itself concerned youths is pushing for the resignation of veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira from the party.
In a telephone interview on Monday, Mapanga Ward councillor Emmanuel Matewere, one of the leaders of the group, said Mpinganjira does not deserve a position in the party’s hierarchy because he was “a recycled politician who adds no value to the party”.
He said the group will hold demonstrations on August 28 2020 if Mpinganjira will remain the party’s member by then.
Matewere said their action was motivated by the DPP leadership’s decision last Tuesday to appoint Mpinganjira as interim party spokesperson and former Chiradzulu East legislator Henry Mussa as his deputy.
He said: “We are okay with honourable Mussa because he is one of the trustees of the party.
“But for Mpinganjira, this is not what we wanted. He is a recycled politician who has been to almost every political party and he does not have any institutional memory of the party.”
Mpinganjira—who has previously served as Cabinet minister in the administrations of United Democratic Front under Bakili Muluzi and People’s Party led by Joyce Banda—joined DPP on January 20 2018 and was unveiled at a rally addressed by former president Peter Mutharika at Lunzu Community Ground in Blantyre.
Matewere said youths in DPP wanted Chikwawa North legislator Owen Chomanika as interim spokesperson to reposition the party for rebranding after its loss in the court-sanctioned June 23 fresh presidential election.
He claimed that DPP lost the presidential election because it was branded a party of “the elderly” due to some elderly persons holding key positions.
Matewere said the youth want younger leaders to take charge.
When contacted for his reaction, Mpinganjira insisted on having a face-to-face interview and agreed to meet in Limbe on Monday. But Mpinganjira did not show up at the agreed point and did not pick our calls.
Yesterday, Mpinganjira said he was tied up and would return the call. But by press time, he was yet to call.
On his part, DPP vice-president responsible for the Southern Region Kondwani Nankhumwa on Monday said the issue was being dealt with at a national executive committee level; hence, could not divulge more information.
Reacting to the developments, University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political analyst Ernest Thindwa said the planned protest against Mpinganjira revealed fundamental flaws in the party’s management processes.
He said: “First is the inadequacy of party processes in filling positions and how power is distributed and exercised within party structures.
“In as much as elective conferences are periodically held in our political parties, they are heavily manipulated such that party electoral outcomes are not a true reflection of the will of party members but in the interest of party elites.”
Thindwa said the second flaw was that exercise of power in political parties is not commensurate with one’s position.
In a separate written response, politican-cum-commentator Humphrey Mvula, said DPP was still going through a grieving period; hence, they will have to move away from living in denial to accepting that it lost in the fresh presidential election.
“During this time, there will be a lot of bickering and scapegoats for the loss and obviously newcomers into the party like Mpinganjira will be targeted for the loss,” he said.
Mvula said the party can avoid this internal strife by quickly carrying out a post-mortem of the election by neutral consultants or by individuals within the party that were not part of the mobilisation process.
This is the second time the DPP, formed in 2005, has become an opposition political party after losing in the fresh presidential election following a February 3 2020 Constitutional Court ruling.
The first time the DPP was in opposition was in 2012 after the death of its founding president Bingu wa Mutharika. However, the party regrouped and won the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.